Germany’s Schulte Group has confirmed that the 7,500m³ LNG bunker-supply ship it has ordered from South Korean shipyard Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for delivery in summer 2018 will be deployed at Lithuania’s Port of Klaipeda under charter to Bomin Linde.
The bunker-supply ship is the largest ordered to date and is the first ice-class ship of this type. The order comes with one option. The Schulte Group is talking to several interested parties but has no charter yet for a second ship, or for additional orders, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement corporate director energy projects Angus Campbell told LNG World Shipping.
Mr Campbell declined to name the value of the order but confirms that Schulte has ordered the vessel in a 50:50 partnership with its strategic partner the Babcock Group. The two companies are negotiating with prospective takers for additional LNG bunker-supply ships, whose design can be scaled up or down.
“At this stage, we see 7,500m³ as the most useful size of LNG bunker-supply ship,” Mr Campbell said. “When it comes to marine demand, we expect to see steady, slow growth in take-up.”
Bomin Linde chief executive Mahinde Abeynaike concluded the charter deal with Bernhard Schulte in September. The vessel is only the sixth purpose-built LNG bunker-supply ship ordered to date.
Klaipeda is home to Höegh LNG’s 170,000m³ floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) Independence. The bunker supply ship will load LNG from the FSRU for onward distribution around the Baltic region.
The bunker-supply ship’s propulsion and steering system features azimuth thrusters and pump jets. Frequency-driven pumps with high flow rates allow for fast LNG transfer to client vessels, shortening time at port.
Babcock and Bernhard Schulte are also partners in Caledonia LNG, which aims to develop a small-scale LNG hub in Orkney, off mainland Scotland. Caledonia LNG is targeting both marine and industrial demand for LNG, to be supplied by partner ExxonMobil.
Orkney is a popular cruise destination that last year handled 117 cruise ship calls. Mr Campbell says the Caledonia LNG project will also need a dedicated bunker-supply ship “further down the line”.