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China and Singapore Expand LNG Bunkering Capabilities

China and Singapore LNG bunkering
China added LNG bunkering at the Meishan terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan port complex

Published Jun 23, 2023 3:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

Efforts are continuing to expand LNG-bunkering capabilities in Asia with both China and Singapore marking milestones in their operations. It is part of the broader effort to meet the growing demand for LNG as the global fleet continues to grow. According to data from DNV, there are approximately 400 vessels currently operating in the LNG-fueled fleet worldwide with more than 500 more on order for delivery in the next five years.

China initiated LNG bunkering at the Meishan terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan port complex, making it the first terminal in China’s Yangtze River Delta region to supply bonded LNG to an LNG carrier for refueling. It joins both the ports of Shanghai and Yantian in having the capacity to supply LNG bunkers. According to officials at Meishan, it will provide a strong competitive advantage to further expand the port’s operations.

The bunkering is being operated by what China calls the world’s largest LNG carrier and bunker vessel. Last year they completed the conversion of a 605-foot long LNG carrier to operate as a bunker vessel. The Haiyang Shiyou 301 has a maximum capacity of 30,000 cbm of LNG and can bunker two vessels simultaneously with the ability to pump 1,650 cbm of LNG per hour.  The vessel had since the beginning of the year been at the Yantian port in Shenzhen. It is being operated by CNOOC Gas & Power.

The vessel loaded 11,000 cbm of LNG on June 12 and on June 14 bunkered the CMA CGM Unity, a 160,000 dwt containership with a 14,800 TEU capacity, with LNG. According to port officials, they bunkered the containership with 9,400 cbm of LNG, which can fuel the ship for more than 10,000 nautical miles, covering the distance of a single voyage from China to Europe. The CMA CGM Unity was built in 2021 and is owned by Eastern Pacific Shipping.

 

FUELNG Venosa became the second LNG bunker vessel for FUELNG in Singapore (EPS)

 

At the end of last week, Eastern Pacific also announced that it had completed its 100th LNG bunkering in Singapore. The new 210,000 dwt Newcastlemax bulker, Mount Tai, loaded 4,887 cmb of LNG. The vessel is operating as part of EPS’s emerging low-carbon fleet transporting iron ore from Western Australia to Northeast Asia.

“This is a historic event for EPS as it proves that the viability and infrastructure to carry out LNG bunkering already exists,” said Cyril Ducau, CEO of EPS. “Mount Tai will be or first Newastlemax to operate in the spot market. With the volatility in LNG pricing, bunkering our managed spot vessels showcases our commitment towards the industry’s energy transition.”

The fueling was the first for the second LNG bunker vessel, the FUELNG Venosa, operated by FueLNG, a joint venture between Seatrium Offshore & Marine and Shell Singapore. The vessel was built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. in South Korea and has a capacity of 18,000 cbm. According to the company, it will provide significant economies of scale with its ability to carry out simultaneous cargo handling and bunkering operations.

There are currently 43 LNG bunker vessels in operation according to DNV’s data. Nearly half of the vessels are operating in Europe with only a quarter of the LNG bunker vessels currently in Asia. The Alternative Fuels Insights database reports that an additional 21 LNG bunker vessels are due for delivery by 2025, with as many as 21 further vessels also under discussion.