Russia’s Sovcomflot marks 1st ever LNG bunkering in country’s history
by Jasmina Ovcina Mandra
Russia’s largest shipping company PAO Sovcomflot and compatriot oil company PAO Gazprom Neft have carried out the first-ever bunkering of a marine vessel with liquified natural gas (LNG) in the history of the country’s transport industry.
The bunkering operation involved Sovcomflot’s crude oil tanker Korolev Prospekt which was refueled by Gazprom Neft’s LNG bunkering vessel Dmitry Mendeleev in the port of Ust-Luga. The tanker took on board 1,432 cubic meters of LNG fuel during a four-hour bunkering operation.
Dmitry Mendeleev is Russia’s first dedicated LNG bunkering vessel. The ship, delivered in August 2021, is 100 meters long, 19 meters wide, and can transport up to 5,800 cubic meters of LNG. The vessel’s Arc4 ice-class reinforced hull enables it to navigate through one-year-old ice of up to 80 cm thick independently, while its integrated digital system enables it to be controlled by just one crew member.
The two companies have been working on low-carbon maritime fuels since last year with the aim of cutting emissions in the Russian Arctic. The goal is to decarbonize shipping through the use of alternative types of marine fuel. Specifically LNG, hydrogen, ammonia, and methanol.
“We welcome the efforts of Gazprom Neft to develop the infrastructure for bunkering ships with low-carbon fuel in Russia. Sovcomflot is consistently working to reduce emissions from the operation of its ships,” said Igor Tonkovidov, CEO and President of PAO Sovcomflot.
Anatoly Cherner, Deputy Chairman of Gazprom Neft’s Management Board, said that it was the company’s long-term strategy to develop bunkering business focused on low-carbon marine fuels.
“Liquefied natural gas has a high market potential due to its environmental and performance characteristics. The first ship-to-ship refueling with liquefied natural gas we conducted in Russia kick-starts the development of a new fuel segment in the domestic shipping industry.”
Sovcomflot started introducing LNG as marine fuel for large-capacity tankers in 2015. In 2018, Sovcomflot launched the world’s first Aframax LNG-fueled tankers in the world.
At the moment, the shipping company has five crude and oil product tankers designed to use LNG as the main fuel under construction at Zvezda shipyard.