SCF Group and Shell adopt LNG as primary fuel for aframax tankers

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

21 February 2018


SCF Group (PAO Sovcomflot) has today signed time-charter agreements with Shell for two dual-fuelled Aframax tankers, which mark a historic turning point that set new environmental standards for the global tanker industry. At a ceremony held today during International Petroleum Week in London, the time charter agreements were signed by Evgeny Ambrosov, Senior Executive Vice-President of SCF Group, and Mark Quartermain, Vice-President of Crude Trading for Shell. The vessels are part of a series of six SCF Group tankers currently under construction and due for delivery between Q3 2018 and Q1 2019. The two tankers will be on time charter to Shell for up to 10 years, with a minimum commitment of five years. This “Green Funnel” series of ice class 114,000 deadweight LNG-powered Aframax tankers will operate within Shell’s extensive global freight trading network. The vessels will also use Shell’s specialised LNG bunker vessels, such as the Cardissa, for fuelling in North West Europe. Shell will provide further supply points across North West Europe and the Baltic as it expands its LNG fuelling infrastructure. The signed agreements represent the next step in an extensive top-to-bottom collaboration between SCF Group and Shell over the last three years around reducing the environmental footprint of the tanker industry, in particular, by fuelling tankers with LNG. The new contracts follow the LNG Fuel Supply Agreement between Shell and Sovcomflot concluded in 2017, which pioneered the expansion of Marine LNG fuelling into the tanker industry and, in general, for vessels not tied to fixed routes or set timetables. In concluding these contracts, both SCF Group and Shell seek not only the safe and economically efficient transportation of oil by sea but also look to improve the emissions footprint of such shipments by exceeding, rather simply complying with, ECA zone emission regulations on carbon, sulphur, nitrous oxide and particulates pollution output from their vessels. Each tanker will have an ice class 1A hull, enabling year-round export operations from the Baltic. The technical specifications for these new vessels have been developed by SCF Group’s own engineering centre, with the close involvement of Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s leader in Aframax construction, and Russian shipbuilders (Zvezda shipbuilding complex, Primorsk region). Their design draws upon the Group’s significant experience of operating large-capacity tankers under adverse climatic and ice conditions of the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas, as well as the Baltic. Total carbon emissions using LNG fuel can be reduced by 27 per cent, with sulphur emissions reduced by 100 per cent, nitrous oxide emissions down 85 per cent and particulate matter emissions reduced by 100 per cent. The vessels’ main engines, auxiliaries, and boilers will be dual fuel, capable of using LNG, and the vessels will also be fitted with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology to comply with Tier III regulations governing NOx emissions when in gasoil fuel mode. Commenting on the signing Evgeny Ambrosov, Senior Executive Vice-President of SCF Group, said: “Together, SCF Group and Shell are leading the development and adoption of LNG as a fuel within the tanker industry, committed to significantly reducing the environmental footprint of energy shipping. After proper experience of operating LNG-fuelled vessels, SCF Group will share its feedback on their performance with Zvezda shipbuilding complex, a Russian facility that is envisaged to commence the domestic construction of such large-capacity LNG-fuelled tankers by 2021. At SCF Group we have a strong sense of pride that Shell has chosen to partner with us in creating LNG-fuelled Aframax tankers.” Mark Quartermain, Vice-President, Shell Crude Trading, said: “LNG fuel will play a fundamental role in the future energy mix. Chartering and fuelling these vessels highlights Shell’s commitment to LNG as emissions standards tighten. We look forward to continuing to build upon our strong relationship with SCF to support our trading operations in key areas.” PAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) is one of the world's leading shipping companies, specialising in the transportation of crude oil, petroleum products, and liquefied gas, as well as servicing offshore upstream oil and gas installations and equipment. The Group’s fleet comprises 150 vessels with a total deadweight of over 13 million tonnes.