China and Singapore are expanding their LNG bunker capacities

Efforts to expand LNG bunkering capacity in Asia continue, with both China and Singapore marking milestones in their operations. It is part of the broader effort to meet the growing demand for LNG as the global fleet continues to grow.

According to DNV, about 400 vessels are currently operating in the LNG-powered fleet worldwide, and more than 500 more vessels are on order for delivery over the next five years.

China has initiated LNG bunkering at the Meishan Terminal in the Ningbo-Zhoushan Port Complex, becoming the first terminal in China’s Yangtze River Delta region to deliver bound LNG to an LNG carrier for refueling. Together with the ports of Shanghai and Yantian, it has the capacity to deliver LNG bunkers. According to Meishan officials, this will provide a strong competitive advantage for further expansion of port operations.

The bunkering will be carried out by China’s largest LNG tanker and bunker ship in the world. Last year they completed the conversion of a 605-foot LNG tanker to operate as a bunker vessel. The Haiyang Shiyou 301 has a maximum capacity of 30,000 cubic meters of LNG and can bunker two vessels simultaneously and pump 1,650 cubic meters of LNG per hour. The ship has been in Yantian Port in Shenzhen since the beginning of the year. It is operated by CNOOC Gas & Power.

The ship loaded 11,000 cubic meters of LNG on June 12 and bunkered it on June 14 CMA CGM unit, a 160,000 dwt container ship with a capacity of 14,800 TEU, using LNG. According to the port officials, they have fueled the container ship with 9,400 cubic meters of LNG, which will allow the ship to travel more than 10,000 nautical miles and cover the distance of a single voyage from China to Europe. The CMA CGM unit was built in 2021 and is owned by Eastern Pacific Shipping.

Late last week, Eastern Pacific also announced that it had completed its 100th LNG bunkering in Singapore. The new 210,000 dwt Newcastlemax bulker, Mount Tai, loaded 4,887 cubic meters of LNG. The vessel is part of EPS’s burgeoning low-carbon fleet transporting iron ore from Western Australia to Northeast Asia.

“This is a historic event for EPS as it proves that the feasibility and infrastructure to carry out LNG bunkering is already in place,” said Cyril Ducau, CEO of EPS. “Mount Tai will be the first Newastlemax to operate on the spot market. Given the volatility of LNG prices, the refueling of our managed spot vessels demonstrates our commitment to the energy transition of the industry.”

The refueling was the first for the second LNG bunker ship, the FUELNG Venous, operated by FueLNG, a joint venture between Seatrium Offshore & Marine and Shell Singapore. The ship was built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard Co. in South Korea and has a capacity of 18,000 cbm. According to the company, it will offer significant economies of scale through the ability to simultaneously perform cargo handling and bunkering operations.

According to DNV, 43 LNG bunker ships are currently in use. Almost half of the ships are in use in Europe, only a quarter of the LNG bunker ships are currently in Asia. The Alternative Fuels Insights database reports that a further 21 LNG bunker vessels are to be delivered by 2025, with up to 21 more vessels also under discussion.

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