Proman Stena Bulk

Proman Stena Bulk JV names methanol-powered Stena Prosperous

Proman Stena Bulk, a joint venture between tanker company Stena Bulk and methanol producer Proman, has christened Stena Prosperous, the JV’s fourth methanol-fueled tanker.

The naming ceremony was held at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre in Singapore on May 23, 2024.

Proman Stena Bulk
Courtesy of Proman Stena Bulk

After the ceremony, the 49,900 dwt IMOIIMeMAX vessel will be bunkered with a 20/80 green/conventional methanol blend, which delivers CO2e savings of 31% compared to the same voyage operated on very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO), while making additional particulate matter (PM), sulphur oxides (SOx), and nitrogen oxides (NOx) savings.

The blend delivers greenhouse gas emissions reductions below the 2025 target required by Fuel EU Maritime, further underlining methanol’s viability as a pathway fuel.

Delivered in late 2022 as the fourth methanol-fueled tanker in Proman Stena Bulk’s fleet, Stena Prosperous is the last of six vessels in Proman Stena Bulk’s joint venture fleet to be formally named. To remind, the joint venture ordered the six methanol-fueled tankers in 2019, and the first vessel was delivered in June 2022.

In November 2023, Proman Stena Bulk christened Stena Provident and Stena Progressive, the final two units in the six-strong methanol-powered tanker fleet.

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Methanol as a pathway fuel

Using methanol instead of conventional marine fuels virtually eliminates particulate matter and SOx, and cuts NOx by up to 80% during combustion. Technologies such as carbon capture, storage and utilisation used in the production process cut emissions further, and green methanol produced from biogas can bring more than 90% GHG emissions savings.

By increasing the amount of green methanol in the mix as its production ramps up, shipowners can deliver on the pathway for emissions reductions set by the IMO and the EU.

The viability of this is demonstrated by the 20/80 blend used this week by Stena Prosperous.

“Singapore is the world’s most important bunkering hub, so it’s fantastic to celebrate the naming of Stena Prosperous here, as we also celebrate the role methanol is playing in the decarbonisation of the industry. With its cleaner burning qualities, methanol delivers immediate air quality benefits today, and the pathway demonstrated by our 20/80 blending strategy here in Singapore means that ship owners are also increasingly seeing it as a viable marine fuel for the future,” David Cassidy, Chief Executive of Proman, said, speaking at the naming ceremony.

“Naming Stena Prosperous in Singapore has provided the perfect opportunity for us to mark the progress we have made in our joint venture with Proman over the last few years. We are proud of the track record of these tankers to-date, and are excited to be able to continue to prove to the market that by being pragmatic and flexible, we can make tangible steps towards decarbonisation,” Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk, commented.

“The vessel’s operations leverage the deep experience of methanol that Stena Bulk – and the wider Stena Sphere – have built over the last decade. This experience has moved the dial on how the industry views methanol as a marine fuel, helping to propel it from being an outside solution to a reality in-operation,” he added.

Today, all six vessels are in commercial operation, running on methanol. Two of the vessels are long-term time-chartered to provide the market with opportunities to gain wider operational experience of methanol as a marine fuel.

Stena Prosperous has benefited from the $300m already invested by the Low Emission Methanol Shipping Company – the LEMSCO Fund – an industry-first investment fund targeting sustainable investments under Article 9 of the EU’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation.

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The LEMSCO Fund was established by Proman and Stena to deliver the critical shipping and associated infrastructure needed for the energy transition.

“We are delighted to see Stena Prosperous formally named and central to the energy transition. The trust shown in methanol by the consortium of banks that have provided accredited Green Loans to date shows recognition of its role in the future of shipping and enables the LEMSCO Fund to pursue its ambition to finance the maritime energy transition,” Sue Inglis, Independent Director of ProMarine AG, Investment Advisor to the LEMSCO Fund, said.

Future-proof vessels

With four of the vessels in operation for the whole of 2023, Proman Stena Bulk has been able to track and assess the emissions performance of its fleet.

This analysis shows that when the four vessels operate on methanol instead of VLSFO, the GHG emissions savings for a full year are around 5,500 tonnes.

In addition, the ships have demonstrated good operational efficiency performance, as measured by the IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) methodology. For example, Stena Pro Patria has demonstrated operating performance 11% beyond the IMO’s 2025 target, setting a new efficiency benchmark for methanol-fueled tankers.

The six-ship fleet is currently crewed and operated by Stena Sphere company Northern Marine Group, who have highlighted the technical similarities of the tankers to conventionally fueled vessels, meaning that they do not require a completely new set of operating procedures.