JV plans European LNG marine fuel infrastructure

AUGUST 6, 2012 — Linde Group, which has a contract to deliver LNG fuel for the natural gas fueled ferry newbuild Viking Grace (pictured at left), is setting up a 50/50 joint venture with bunker supplier Bomin. The aim is to build a European infrastructure for the supply of LNG fuel for ships.The JV is due to start its operations in the latter part of 2012 with its headquarters in Hamburg.

The new joint venture will set out to establish an LNG supply chain and to provide reliable, safe and environmentally friendly fuel to ship owners and operators. Linde will contribute its experience in cryogenics and its engineering know-how while Bomin will support the joint venture with its track record in maritime bunker fuel trading and operations. The new company will establish operations in a number of key ports throughout Emission Control Areas (ECAs) in Northwest Europe. Vessel emissions in ECAs will have to be reduced further on January 1 2015, requiring ships to limit sulphur emissions drastically. Compared to conventional heavy fuel oil, LNG offers close to 100 percent reduction of emissions of sulfur and particulate matter, an 80-85 percent reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 20-25 percent lower CO2 emissions. For LNG to become an effective option for meeting increasingly strict emissions limits, a network of LNG storage facilities needs to be set up for the bunkering of vessels in main European harbors.

"With the new joint venture company we want to offer LNG to ship owners as an alternative energy source with a lower environmental impact than traditional bunker fuels. The know-how combination of Bomin and Linde will enable us to offer attractive solutions in this emerging market," says Dr Claus-Georg Nette, a Member of the Executive Board of Bomin's parent Marquard & Bahls AG.

"Bomin is committed to the bunker business on a global scale. Combining our expertise in bunkering with Linde's gases and engineering know-how adds support to the emerging LNG-fuel market. As this partnership shows, Bomin is determined to remain innovative, offering multiple fueling solutions wherever we can," says Peter Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer of the Bomin Group.

"A readily available and cost-effective LNG infrastructure is key to the development of LNG as a maritime fuel," says Professor Dr Aldo Belloni, Member of the Executive Board of Linde AG. "This new joint venture underpins our LNG strategy, already visible in our recent opening of the LNG terminal in Stockholm harbor and our study for the introduction of LNG with the Hamburg Port Authority."

By 2015, some 70 vessels are expected to be operating on LNG in the Nordic region. According to a study by the Danish Maritime Authority, consumption of LNG as marine fuel will reach an estimated 4 million tonnes annually by 2020.