Singapore — FueLNG, a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd. and Shell Eastern Petroleum, has placed an order with Keppel Singmarine to build the first LNG bunkering vessel in Southeast Asia, Keppel Corporation said Tuesday.
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This vessel will "enable FueLNG to be the first in Singapore to provide ship-to-ship LNG bunkering services within the Singapore port," Chris Ong, chairman of FueLNG and CEO of Keppel O&M, said in a statement.
Capable of running on both LNG and marine diesel oil, the vessel's features include bunkering without tug assistance, as well as propulsion and power management systems that optimize fuel consumption, Keppel said.
The increasing use of LNG as a marine fuel comes ahead of upcoming environmental rules in shipping, including the International Maritime Organization's global sulfur limit rule for marine fuels.
The IMO will cap sulfur in marine fuels at 0.5% worldwide from January 1, 2020, from 3.5% currently. This applies outside designated emission control areas where the limit is already 0.1%.
Most LNG variants have no detectable sulfur, and emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxide by LNG-fueled vessels are considerably lower than other marine fuels. It also helps tackle greenhouse gas emissions.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore has been at the helm of several initiatives to promote Singapore as an LNG bunker-ready port.
It formed a focus group in 2014 to promote LNG bunkering along with the Antwerp Port Authority as well as Rotterdam and Zeebrugge ports. It consists of 11 ports and maritime administrations across Asia, Europe and North America.
In 2016, the MPA, awarded two LNG bunker supplier licenses to Pavilion Gas and a joint venture by Keppel Offshore & Marine and the BG Group.
In April 2017, Singapore LNG Corp. and the MPA jointly launched the first LNG truck loading facility, an important first step in developing the LNG trucking business in Singapore by facilitating truck-to-ship LNG bunkering.
Also in April last year, Singapore launched its first technical reference -- TR56--for LNG bunkering.
On Monday, the MPA said it had awarded a co-funding grant to FueLNG and Pavilion Gas for the construction of two LNG bunker vessels to promote the use of cleaner fuels at the Port.