Photo: Grupo CBO

Wärtsilä lines up first fleet decarbonisation deal for oil & gas segment in Latin America

Finland-headquartered technology group Wärtsilä has inked what is described as “a pioneering agreement” for decarbonisation projects in the oil and gas segment in the Americas with Brazil’s shipping company Grupo CBO. This is the Finnish player’s first contract in the decarbonisation area for the oil and gas sector in Latin America, and the second one in the Americas.

CBO disclosed on Wednesday that an agreement for decarbonisation modelling was signed with Wärtsilä in August 2022 to support and accelerate its fleet decarbonisation. The Brazilian offshore vessel operator believes that the Wärtsilä platform will accelerate its journey towards decarbonised operations with lower emissions in its fleet, consisting of 44 vessels: 22 PSVs, 14 AHTS, 5 RSVs and 3 OSRVs.

Lucas Corrêa, Wärtsilä’s Senior Market Innovation Manager for the Americas, remarked: “The partnership with companies like CBO, which is committed to making our industry more sustainable and which has a long history of innovation and pioneering spirit, is a perfect match for our ambition to transform the maritime industry and we could not be more excited about the potential and the achievements we can have together.”

Furthermore, the full scope of this agreement includes a detailed analysis of the potential benefits CBO can expect with short-term and long-term solutions, encompassing digitisation, energy efficiency and energy saving devices, hybridisation and future alternative marine fuels, with a particular focus on the viability of ethanol fuel. A complete report is anticipated to be finalised before the end of this year.

Marcelo Martins, CBO’s Technical and Commercial Director, commented: “The Sustainability Report recently released by CBO indicates that the company is strongly committed to establish a leadership position in practices to minimize the environmental impacts caused by shipping activity. Decarbonising the operation is a priority, as is safety, and therefore the advantage of taking Wartsila’s expertise and competence to define the fastest and most cost-effective solutions to achieve the established goals.”

The two players have worked together for years. The most recent development, which CBO perceives as an important milestone in the history of the maritime industry, was the contracting of a hybrid battery solution, which was “the first of its kind for a company in Latin America.” This battery retrofit will be installed on the PSV CBO Wiser, which is currently operating for Equinor in Brazil thanks to a deal secured in April.

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Hanno Schoonman, Wärtsilä’s Sales Director for the Americas, stated: “We are very proud to extend our close partnership with CBO through this decarbonisation agreement. We will work together to evaluate all types of potential decarbonisation measures, taking into account their pros and cons, and we will find the most environmentally friendly and commercially viable alternatives for the fleet.”

The deal with Wärtsilä builds upon CBO’s plans to offset the GHG emissions – scopes 1 and 3 – generated by the burning of fossil fuels on its vessels by 2025. As revealed in August 2021, these GHG emissions were to be offset annually through the purchase of carbon credits, for the duration of the service provided as specified by the signed contract.

In addition, the Brazilian shipping company is also pursuing a hybrid propulsion system, which allows the vessel’s engine to switch between diesel and electric energy from batteries. Back in November 2020, the CBO Flamengo was to be the first vessel in Latin America to be fitted with a battery pack for hybrid propulsion.