Sovcomflot, Gazprom Neft join hands to develop LNG bunkering

Sovcomflot's Igor Tonkovidov (Right) and Gazprom's Andrey Vasiliev Sovcomflot's Igor Tonkovidov (Right) and Gazprom's Andrey Vasiliev

Russian firms Sovcomflot Group and Gazprom Neft Marine have joined hands to develop projects for LNG bunkering as part of their efforts to reduce emissions from ships.

The partnership will see Gazprom Neft Marine supply Sovcomflot tankers with LNG as a marine fuel.

Igor Tonkovidov, executive vice president of Sovcomflot, said he is confident that LNG fuel is the “optimal solution” from both environmental and economic perspectives for large tonnage sea transportation, particularly in high intensity of shipping movements such as in the Baltic and North Seas, as well as in the Arctic Sea basin.

“Sovcomflot has been systematically working on switching its tanker fleet to LNG fuel for a number of years, and we welcome the opportunity to expand cooperation with Gazprom Neft in this area, combining the efforts of our companies to introduce advanced environmental standards into the Russian shipping sector,” said Tonkovidov, who is also chief operating and chief technical officer of Sovcomflot.

Andrey Vasiliev, ceo of Gazprom Neft Marine Bunker, noted that the tightening of environmental standards under the international Marpol convention presents a serious challenge for the maritime industry.

“Gazprom Neft’s response to this challenge has been a project to develop Russia’s first LNG bunkering barge, and become actively involved in the process of developing Russian regulation governing the use of LNG as a marine fuel,” Vasiliev said.

He added that Sovcomflot, which already has extensive experience in using LNG-powered vessels, will help to better develop a domestic LNG bunkering market and allow Gazprom Neft to take the lead in this new market sector.

Read more: Cosco Shipping, Sovcomflot, Novatek and Silk Road Fund in Arctic LNG shipping venture

In 2018, Sovcomflot started operating aframax tankers using LNG as their primary fuel. To date, Sovcomflot's fleet includes six such tankers. These vessels are mainly used for exporting Russian oil across the Baltic and North Sea. In addition, Sovcomflot has five more LNG-fuelled tankers under construction, following orders placed at the Zvezda Russian shipbuilding complex.

Posted 10 June 2019

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Lee Hong Liang

Asia Correspondent

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