Sergey Frank, President and CEO, Sovcomflot has said liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel has good potential, following experience on-board its large-capacity tankers since 2015.
Sovcomflot’s Green Funnel tankers, which are powered by LNG, have enabled operation in the Baltic and North Seas where strict emissions regulations apply. The vessels have also operated successfully in the fragile Arctic ecosystem using LNG. The company decided to use LNG to significantly reduce the impact on the natural environment, particularly in sensitive areas where the Sovcomflot Green Funnel tankers operate.
With traffic expected to increase along the Northern Sea Route to a reported 80 million tonnes per annum, Frank sees LNG as having good potential as a marine fuel.
At the end of December, Sovcomflot placed an order with the Zvezda Shipbuilding Complex for the construction of three new-generation MR tankers that will use LNG as their primary fuel. Frank says that the fleet’s transition to natural gas in the Russian Federation will depend on the support of regulators, the development of an LNG bunkering infrastructure, and the interaction between the banking sector, shipbuilding industry and shipping companies.
Frank’s views were raised during a panel discussion of experts on the topic of “Gas engine fuel: Russia’s present and future”, at the Gaidar Forum in the Russian Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, under auspices of the President of the Russian Federation.