Photo: Proman Stena Bulk

New Proman Stena Bulk tankers complete South Korea’s 1st methanol bunkering

Shipping joint venture Proman Stena Bulk said that its two fully operational methanol-fuelled tankers have become the first vessels to bunker methanol in Ulsan, South Korea.

Proman Stena Bulk
Courtesy of Proman Stena Bulk

Stena Pro Patria and Stena Pro Marine were each refuelled with over 2,000 tonnes of methanol during the bunkering operation.

The operation comes as proof of the growing viability of methanol as a marine fuel (MMF), according to the JV between Swedish shipping company Stena Bulk and Swiss methanol producer Proman.

As explained, the bunkering was executed despite South Korea not being a methanol-producing country, and neither vessel was carrying methanol as cargo. The fuel’s availability in Ulsan is said to come as a ‘clear indicator’ of the growing and already widespread availability of MMF for owners and operators that are interesting in combating shipping emissions.

According to Proman Stena Bulk, the first bunkering in South Korea is even more strategically significant given the nation’s status as an important maritime hub. Ulsan is located adjacent to one of the world’s largest shipyards and South Korea neighbours two other leading global shipbuilding nations, China and Japan. Successfully bunkering MMF in Ulsan is a positive sign for the many of the other methanol newbuild vessels currently on order within the region.

The increasing global uptake of methanol as a marine fuel is aided by its current availability across 120 ports worldwide, including the major global bunkering hubs of Singapore, Algeciras, Houston and Rotterdam. Meanwhile, other key locations such as the Port of Gothenburg and Rotterdam are adopting or developing new simple methanol bunkering guidelines.

The status of methanol as a viable marine fuel, both now and into the future, is being further strengthened by the relative ease in which it can, as a non-cryogenic liquid, utilise existing bunkering infrastructure and storage in line with IMO regulations, considerably lowering the barrier to entry for interested owners and operators.

“The combination of low emission methanol and fuel-efficient vessels are important steps towards more sustainable shipping, so we’re proud that Stena Pro Patria and Stena Pro Marine have successfully bunkered methanol for the first time…this bunkering of methanol in Ulsan is further proof that infrastructure and availability is not a barrier for turning our vision of methanol as a key decarbonisation solution into reality,” Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk, commented.

“This successful bunkering in Ulsan, combined with the fact that both Stena Pro Patria and Stena Pro Marine have commenced their first commercial methanol-fuelled voyages carrying various products for third party charterers around the globe, is another important and positive milestone for the JV and for our broader work in helping to develop methanol as a marine fuel,” Anita Gajadhar, MD of Proman Shipping, Marketing and Logistics, said.

“As these vessels show, methanol is already available and viable as an alternative fuel solution for shipping. Incorporating methanol bunkering into future fuel infrastructure regulations and policies that are currently being developed will help ensure guidelines are future-proofed as more low-carbon and renewable methanol sources come online, supporting the transition to lower emissions fuels across the industry.”

Stena Pro Patria and Stena Pro Marine were delivered to Proman Stena Bulk in June and July this year, respectively. They are the first and the second of six IMOIIMeMAX dual-fuel MR tankers being built at Guangzhou Shipyard International Co Ltd (GSI) in China for Proman Stena Bulk and Proman.

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