French energy major Total has invited shipyards to quote for the largest LNG bunker-supply ship yet built, supporting a proposed project that could push take-up of LNG as marine fuel to a completely new level.
Total has invited shipyards in South Korea and China to quote for a ship able to supply 14,000 mᶾ-18,000 mᶾ of LNG as marine fuel to nine 22,000 TEU container ships that CMA CGM has ordered in China for delivery from year-end 2019. That is double the size of the biggest LNG bunker-supply ship booked to date.
CMA CGM and Total signed a deal in February, agreeing to develop new fuels to meet tighter emissions restrictions on shipping. However, the Marseille-headquartered container shipowner is still pondering whether to build the ships LNG-ready or to install dual-fuel engines from the off, a decision that would add some US$20M to the price tag for each ship.
Well-placed sources tell LNG World Shipping that “CMA CGM is studying how to fully stem a boxship of this size – and at how many points in the sailing schedule”.
Deciding to run the ships on LNG from the outset would make CMA CGM the first shipowner to order deepsea-going, ultra-large container ships that use this cleaner-burning fuel.
Industry sources say that decision would change the game for LNG as marine fuel, creating demand for global infrastructure and prompting other shipowners to follow suit.
LNG World Shipping has invited CMA CGM to comment.
However, a senior spokesman for Total said “We do not intend to own and operate; an inquiry to [a] shipowner is being or will be done in parallel. But we are discussing with shipyards, to be sure, to charter exactly what we want – and this is not very easy.”
The LNG bunker-supply shipowners’ club is a select group. There are just seven purpose-built vessels on order and on the water.
Shell owns Cardissa and will charter the 3,000 mᶾ barge that Compagnie Fluviale de Transport and Victrol ordered in August. French energy firm Engie co-owns Engie Zeebrugge with its Gas4Sea partners, Mitsubishi and NYK Line.
Anthony Veder owns Coralius, which is chartered to Skangas of Norway. Babcock Schulte Energy – a joint venture between Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and Babcock International – owns the 7,500 mᶾ newbuilding to be chartered to Nauticor at Klaipeda.
Korea Gas has ordered Samsung Heavy Industries-built Hull 2234, which will be chartered to Kogas to supply gas as marine fuel. And US-based Jax LNG is building North America’s first bunker-supply barge, Clean Jacksonville, which is due to enter service by year-end.
Purpose-built LNG bunker-supply ships booked to date
|Hull number TBC
|Hull number TBC
||Gate Terminal, Rotterdam
||Coastal Services, Norway