In a joint initiative to expand a global market for the LNG bunkering business, the three companies have signed a framework agreement to construct a bunkering vessel to form the core infrastructure for this business, enabling distribution of the fuel to LNG-powered ships in the European maritime region, specifically in the Northern Europe Emissions Controlled Area (ECA). In the future, the joint venture aims to expand its business globally.
Shipping company NYK has already signed a contract with Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co. Ltd. in Korea to build the large-scale LNG bunkering vessel (with a capacity of 5,100 m³), which is expected to be delivered by 2016. It will be based at the port of Zeebrugge, Belgium, and will supply a range of end-customers. The three companies involved will be owners of the ship –as well of an LNG fuel sales company- but it will be operated by NYK.
Moreover, the partnership has resulted in an LNG bunkering contract between GDF Suez and United European Car Carriers (UECC), a Norwegian short-sea operator, which will be the first customer. It purchased LNG to GDF Suez on a medium-term basis for its two new dual fuel car carrier ships operating in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. By end 2016, the LNG will be delivered by means of ship-to-ship transfer from the bunkering vessel to the new ships.
Combining GDF Suez experience of over 40 years in the LNG business and NYK’s proven success in LNG transportation with the presence of Mitsubishi Corporation’s LNG portfolio in providing a stable supply of energy to the market, this new venture also provides another opportunity to contribute to the protection of the global environment and meet international regulations that seek to reduce the impact on shipping activities.
Source: GDF Suez, Mitsubishi Corporation & NYK