Bernhard Schulte

Bernhard Schulte orders LNG dual-fuel CO2 carrier backed by Northern Lights’ long-term charter

Germany-based shipowning company Bernhard Schulte has placed an order for its first CO2 tanker. The LNG dual-fuel newbuilding will be constructed at Dalian Shipbuilding Offshore (DSOC) and feature innovative technologies aimed at significantly reducing its carbon footprint such as wind propulsion and air lubrication.

Image credit: Bernhard Schulte

The CO2 carrier is planned for delivery in 2026, when it is scheduled to start a long-term time charter with Northern Lights and support the development of the world’s first cross-border CO2 transport and storage infrastructure.

The 7,500 cbm newbuilding is the fourth CO2 carrier for Northern Lights, a joint venture owned by Shell, TotalEnergies, and Equinor. The fourth Northern Lights ship will be owned and operated by Bernhard Schulte. 

“Ordering this vessel is an exciting step in the expansion of Bernhard Schulte’s fleet portfolio in an innovative future tanker segment. We are looking forward to becoming part of Northern Lights industry leading project to provide CO2 transport and storage infrastructure. We are furthermore delighted to have Dalian Shipbuilding Offshore as our selected partner in this endeavour. The Schulte Group has long-standing relationships with Chinese shipyards, which is a strong foundation for this outstanding project,” says Ian Beveridge, CEO of Bernhard Schulte.

The first two sister ships have reached over 60% completion and are on track to set sail in 2024.

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All four ships are sister vessels with the same vessel design and have a cargo capacity of 7,500 m3.

Custom-built for the transportation of liquefied CO2, these ships are the first of their kind and are intended to transport CO2 from Northern Lights’ customers across Northwest Europe to the CO2 receiving terminal at Øygarden, Norway before permanent geological storage.

The primary fuel for the ships will be LNG. Combined with other technologies, such as wind-assisted rotor sail and air lubrication, the ships are estimated to have around 34% lower carbon footprint compared to conventional ships running on marine fuel. 

The vessels’ key features include pressurized cargo tanks designed for the transportation of liquefied CO2, contributing to a reduced carbon intensity compared to conventional alternatives.

Image credit: Northern Lights

“As the most experienced offshore yard in China, we are glad to form such first-ever cooperation relationship with Bernhard Schulte and jointly provide our services to contribute Northern Lights CCS projects. DSOC is confident to deliver the vessel on time with highest quality and HSE standards. It is indeed a great honour to be part of this collaboration by providing our Liquefied CO2 transportation solutions,” says Yingzhi Sun, President of DSOC.

“This deal marks another major milestone for us. CCS is a safe and efficient way to handle emissions and it is critical to meet climate targets. We are excited to see Bernhard Schulte now entering the Liquid CO2 business, as strong partnerships are required to succeed. We have strong belief in the tripart collaboration between Northern Lights JV, DSOC and Bernhard Schulte,” says Børre Jacobsen, Managing Director of Northern Lights.

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The Northern Lights’ carbon capture, transport, and storage project comprises the development of a receiving terminal, underwater infrastructure (including the pipeline, subs installations, and wells), intermediate storage tanks, and onshore facilities.

The receiving terminal, the point where CO2 will be received from incoming ships, is in the commissioning phase, with 95% completion, and it is anticipated to be in full operational readiness next year.

From here, the CO2 will be stored in onshore tanks before being transported through a pipeline to an offshore reservoir for permanent and safe storage at a 2,600-meter depth under the seabed. Operations are scheduled to start in 2024. 

Northern Lights has signed a binding commercial agreement with Norwegian-based ammonia player Yara International which is expected to pave the way for the world’s first cross-border transportation and storage of CO2.