First ship-to-ship Aframax LNG refueling in the USA

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Sovcomflot (SCF) and Shell have completed the USA’s first ship-to-ship Aframax tanker fueling using LNG. The shipowner’s Gagarin Prospect, on long-term charter to Shell, was en route from Corpus Christi, Texas to Europe, and received 1,075m of marine LNG from the Shell NA LNG-chartered Q-LNG 4000 outside Port Canaveral, Florida.

This milestone highlights the rapid expansion of global LNG bunkering infrastructure. The deviation from the vessel’s usual voyage route amounted to less than 150 nautical miles (0.5 days) and the bunkering time was 11 hours. LNG can now be supplied ship-to-ship on the principal transatlantic tanker trade routes between Europe and the US Gulf, and the US Gulf and East Coast Canada, which have seen rapid traffic increase as a result of the growth in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude exports from the US Gulf.

Gagarin Prospect is the lead vessel in SCF Group’s series of dual-fueled Green Funnel Aframax tankers, delivered in 2018/2019, and one of two in the series on long-term charter to Shell. The continued expansion of LNG fueling in the United States facilitates the growing use of vessels able to utilize LNG in their main engines, auxiliaries and boilers, contributing to a much-reduced emissions footprint compared with conventionally fueled tankers.

According to SCF’s technical team, by undertaking this voyage using LNG fuel rather than permissible conventional fuels and including discharge operations, a 24% reduction in CO2   emissions, 100% reduction in SO emissions and 95% reduction in NO emissions was achieved.

“This is another important milestone highlighting the progress of the combined efforts of Shell and Sovcomflot to reduce the environmental impact of energy shipping,” said Sergey Popravko, chief operating officer of SCF Group. “Our work started back in 2018 with the first marine LNG fueling operation of Gagarin Prospect in the Port of Rotterdam. The current LNG bunkering confirms the leadership position of Sovcomflot in ‘green’ shipping and our responsible approach to environmental safety, which lies at the heart of SCF’s activity. We are investing significant efforts to the transition of our fleet to energy efficiency and the use of cleaner fuels.

“We are pleased that Shell has opened up LNG fueling along this important transatlantic trade route, demonstrating that marine LNG fueling infrastructure is no longer limited to hubs in northern Europe and Singapore.”

“As part of Shell’s target to be a net zero emissions energy business by 2050, in step with society, we are working with customers across every sector to help them decarbonize,” added Karrie Trauth, general manager, Shell Shipping & Maritime Americas. “LNG is the choice today for new-builds to help slow the rate of global greenhouse gas emissions while we work hard at developing zero-emission fuels. I’m pleased to see the first Aframax tanker fueled with LNG in the United States, as this is an important milestone for the industry.”

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Matt joined UKi Media & Events in 2014 after seven years of living and working in Dubai. He has been a journalist for over 15 years and has worked for a wide range of publications, including Rolling Stone, Time Out, iQ and Loaded. After starting out on the automotive team as deputy editor of Engine Technology International, Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International and Transmissions Technology International, he has been an editor since 2015, and began editing Tire Technology International in 2018. In 2020, he was appointed editor-in-chief of Tire and Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International. He is also the chairman of the Tire Technology International Awards for Innovation & Excellence, and the Electric & Hybrid Marine Technology International Awards.

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