Sovcomflot Group and Gazprom Neft Marine Bunker have signed a cooperation agreement on the implementation of projects for bunkering ships with liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel.
The agreement reinforces the mutual interest of both parties regarding their cooperation in the bunkering of Sovcomflot’s tankers with LNG fuel. The activities also correspond with the state programme for expanding the use of gas motor fuel in transportation.
“We are confident that LNG fuel is the optimal solution from both environmental and economic perspectives for large-tonnage sea transportation, primarily in areas of the world’s oceans with existing regulatory restrictions on emissions and a high intensity of shipping movements, such as in the Baltic and North Seas, as well as in the Arctic Sea basin. Sovcomflot has been systematically working on switching its tanker fleet to LNG fuel for a number of years, and we welcome the opportunity to expand cooperation with Gazprom Neft in this area, combining the efforts of our companies to introduce advanced environmental standards into the Russian shipping sector”, said executive vice president and chief operating / chief technical officer of Sovcomflot.
Andrey Vasilie, CEO of Gazprom Neft Marine Bunker, commented: “The stringent tightening of environmental standards under the international MARPOL convention presents a serious challenge both for market players in maritime transportation, and for water-transport fuel-supply companies. Gazprom Neft’s response to this challenge has been a project to develop Russia’s first LNG bunkering barge, and become actively involved in the process of developing Russian regulation governing the use of LNG as a marine fuel. I have every confidence that joining forces with Russia’s largest shipping company –which already has extensive experience in using LNG-powered vessels – will prove a further step forward in developing a domestic LNG bunkering market and allow Gazprom Neft to take the lead in this new market sector.”
The signing ceremony took place at the 2019 St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. The agreement was signed by Igor Tonkovidov and Andrey Vasiliev.
In 2018, Sovcomflot was the first company to begin operating large-tonnage oil tankers, of Aframax size (deadweight around 114,000 tonnes), using LNG as their primary fuel. To date, Sovcomflot’s fleet includes six such tankers. These vessels are mainly used for exporting Russian oil across the Baltic and North Sea.