Stena Prosperous

Proman Stena Bulk makes waves with 1st barge-to-ship methanol bunkering on US Gulf Coast

Proman Stena Bulk, the joint venture between tanker company Stena Bulk and methanol producer Proman, has completed the first-ever barge-to-ship methanol bunkering on the US Gulf Coast.

The JV tankers Stena Pro Marine and Stena Prosperous were refuelled with methanol via barge while discharging clean petroleum products at a terminal in the Port of Houston in the first week of April.

Image credit Stena Proman

“The ability to refuel both vessels with methanol whilst they were alongside demonstrates the ease and minimal infrastructure requirements associated with methanol as a marine fuel, as well as its widespread availability,” Proman Stena Bulk said.

Stena Pro Marine was bunkered with 1,408MT of methanol, and Stena Prosperous was refuelled with 1,203MT during the operation. Both ships were time-chartered to a global trading house at the time of the refuelling.

Related Article

The barge bunkering operation was conducted jointly with Kirby Corporation, the largest tanker barge provider in the United States.

 “Completing the first barge-to-ship methanol bunkering on the US Gulf Coast is a tremendous achievement for the Proman Stena Bulk joint venture. The Port of Houston is a major global cargo hub with significant latent methanol storage capacity. These qualities made it a natural testbed for our first US ship-to-ship bunkering,” Anita Gajadhar, Executive Director, Marketing, Logistics and Shipping, Proman, said.

“Proman Stena Bulk continues to work with partners across the supply chain to develop methanol bunkering facilities worldwide and at key strategic bunker hubs.”

“It was a natural for us: we have extensive expertise with methanol as a cargo, with conventional bunkering, and with barge-to-ship lightering of all manner of products. We are committed to remaining a leader in energy transportation, regardless of the form that energy takes. We look forward to doing this again and again in Houston and beyond,”  said Kirby Marine Group President Christian O’Neil. 

Methanol is widely available in the Port of Houston, which is the United States’ busiest port in terms of foreign tonnage. Thanks to the presence of major petrochemicals hubs and significant storage capacity, more than 275,000MT of methanol is available at the port. 

The Port of Houston aims to become carbon neutral in the next 30 years. A key pillar of the port’s strategy is the deployment of alternative fuels and clean energy sources.

Image credit: Proman Stena Bulk

The bunkering also supports U.S. commitments to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 under the Global Methane Pledge, which was announced at the COP26 climate summit in 2021.

Proman is investing in its own low-carbon and green methanol production capabilities, including a new 100,000 tonne per year methanol facility in development in North America. The project is currently being constructed with a target start of operations in 2025. The facility will produce bio-methanol from non-recyclable forestry residues and municipal solid waste and will substantially contribute to the circular economy.

The news of this first US Gulf methanol barge-to-ship bunkering comes ahead of the naming ceremony for Stena Promise in the Port of Rotterdam scheduled for April 25.

Overall, the joint venture has taken delivery of four methanol-fuelled tankers.

Related Article

Guangzhou Shipyard International was hired by Proman Stena Bulk in 2019 to build two dual-fuel chemical tankers powered by methanol. The shipbuilding company is the first Chinese shipyard to build methanol dual-fuel vessels. The ordering tally at GSI has since increased to six vessels.