Sovcomflot CEO: LNG to fuel future tanker industry

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) as fuel will play a significant role in increasing the environmental compatibility and efficiency of the large-capacity vessels in the future, according to Sovcomflot’s president and CEO Sergey Frank. 

The Russian shipping giant, Sovcomflot, recently signed a contract with Shell for the supply of LNG to the first Aframax crude oil tankers in the world to be powered by the chilled fuel.

Sovcomflot ordered the four tankers at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ unit, Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries (HSHI) under a contract valued at US$240 million.

These tankers will join the Sovcomflot’s fleet at the beginning of June 2018, and will each have deadweight of 114,000 tons and certified as ice class 1A.

Speaking at the Gastech conference held last week in Japan, Sergey Frank said that “Aframax is one of the key size categories for tankers employed in transportation of liquid hydrocarbons. These are ships that are most in demand to cater for Russian oil exports. Sovcomflot and Shell are initiating the conversion of this segment of large-capacity tankers to gas engine fuel.”

The use of LNG as a fuel for tankers meets the expectations of both ship owners and charterers seeking to improve cargo transportation’s environmental footprint, he said.

First Arctic LNG carrier passes targets during sea-trials

In addition to the Aframax tankers, Frank noted that the company added the world’s first ice-breaking LNG tanker, Christophe de Margerie, to its fleet. The vessel that will serve the Yamal LNG project, has already berthed at the gas terminal in the port of Sabetta.

He added that during the vessel’s ice trials, which have taken place from February 19 to March 8 in the Kara and Laptev Seas, it has proved the capability to move stern-first in 1.5 m thick ice at a speed of 7.2 knots (the target figure was 5 knots) and head-on at a speed of 2.5 knots (the target figure was 2 knots).

In the coastal area to the west of the Nordenskiöld Archipelago, Christophe de Margerie successfully through an ice ridge with a height of 2-4.5 meters above the ice, a keel depth of 12-15 meters and a cross-sectional area of 650 square meters, moving stern first.

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