BP has unveiled a ‘Partnership class’ of liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, claiming that the new vessels are its most fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly and technologically advanced yet.
The fleet, which is bigger and capable of carrying far more than previous tankers, significantly increase the energy giant’s ability to transport LNG to emerging markets, and is set to launch as the maritime shipping industry prepares for the implementation of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) 2020 sulphur cap on fuel.
When the regulation is in effect, there will be a 0.5% m/m (mass-by-mass) limit for sulphur oxides, a reduction of 3% on the current global limit, produced by ships from January 1, 2020.
LNG produces no sulphur oxides and is the cleanest fossil fuel, producing as much as 50% less carbon dioxide (CO2) than coal and 30% less than oil.
Recent developments in ocean carriers embracing LNG include Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha’s project with Japan Marine United Corporation (MNU) in July to design a 200,000 dead-weight tonnage (DWT) bulk carrier fuelled solely by LNG.
This month also saw the christening of the largest containership ever built in the US, Matson’s ‘Daniel K. Inouye,’ which will run entirely on LNG.
However, the some key players in the port industry have already been preparing.
Since 2015, the Port of Gothenburg has offered a tariff discount initiative for LNG powered vessels, resulting in significant reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide particles and nitric oxide in western Sweden.
Oli Beavon, Technical Vice President for BP Shipping, said: “BP is set to increase its LNG supply significantly over the next four years thanks, largely, to new projects in the US, and off the coast of Mozambique.
“The new Partnership class ships will give us the necessary capacity to transport those extra volumes around the world.”