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BSM, Babcock joint venture seeks charter deal for second LNG supply vessel

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Babcock Schulte Energy (BSE), a joint venture of Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) and Babcock International Group, is actively seeking long term charter contracts to back the purchase of its second LNG supply vessel following the recent delivery of its first vessel unit.

The commercial attractiveness of LNG supply vessels is expected to pick up pace as LNG will remain a viable clean fuel in the long run for global shipping, aided in part by the approaching IMO regulation to limit fuel sulphur content to 0.5% globally from 1 January 2020, according to Angus Campbell, corporate director energy projects at BSM.

While many of the existing fleet are unlikely to convert to burn LNG, those seeking to build new ships will undoubtedly be looking at cleaner fuels.

“The industry is quite rightly focused on 2020, but the 2020 regulation will not change the necessity for reducing emissions from shipping,” Campbell told Seatrade Maritime News.

“If you look at it from that perspective then it is not too surprising that people will see LNG as a very viable cleaner marine fuel,” he said.

FREE DOWNLOAD - 2020 Sulphur Cap: Is the industry ready for the long-run?

Beyond 2020, owners will need to look toward 2023 where the IMO has to put in place specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, and that is where the use of cleaner fuels like LNG will become even more important, Campbell stressed.

“We are still seeing opportunities to build a number of LNG supply vessels to supply significantly larger LNG parcels,” Campbell said.

Campbell said BSE is presently working on securing long term supply contracts before placing a newbuild order as it does not believe in speculative building.

He pointed out that BSE has been able to tap on the expertise of both partners, blending together Schulte Group’s gas shipping experience and Babcock’s expertise in gas processing to reap commercial advantages.

Read more: BSM sees multiple roles for LNG bunker tankers

BSE’s first gas supply vessel Kairos was delivered in September 2018 from South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard. The vessel is equipped with two IMO Type C containment systems with a total capacity of 7,500 cu m. Kairos is 1A ice-class and DP capable, boasting a transfer rate of up to 1,250 cu m per hour. Kairos emits zero methane gas during bunkering operations, and uses LNG as fuel, either boil-off gas or vaporised liquid.

Kairos currently operates in the Baltic Sea, mainly supplying to ferries and feeder boxships. The vessel is able to conduct ship-to-ship bunkering of LNG, as well as being able to load/unload at LNG terminals, FSRUs or FSUs.

Elsewhere in Asia, the world’s largest bunkering port Singapore is on track to become a LNG bunkering hub. Campbell said BSE is “certainly interested to participate in Singapore’s LNG bunkering market” and that it is looking to participate in competitive tenders to bring in LNG supply vessels.

At the moment, however, the Singapore port authority has only engaged Keppel and Shell Eastern Petroleum’s joint venture FueLNG and Pavilion Energy’s subsidiary Pavilion Gas to each build one LNG bunkering vessel for the republic.

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