Sovcomflot is keeping a close eye on new Russian vessel projects for the construction of MR tankers and icebreakers that can use LNG as a fuel.
“We are very interested to be involved,” senior executive vice president Evgeniy Ambrosov tells TradeWinds.
Sovcomflot believes that LNG should become a growing part of shipping’s fuel mix, to reduce its environmental footprint and increase its environmental sustainability.
LNG is “not a silver bullet”, Ambrosov adds, acknowledging that the industry needs a fuel mix for the industry, and naming LPG, methanol, biofuels and hydrogen as other alternatives.
But he says that for fragile pH-neutral environments like the North Sea and the Baltic, fishing grounds off the Norwegian coast and the Russian sub-Arctic, it is ideal for larger industrial shipping, in terms of environmental benefits, price and regulatory compliance.
As of today, LNG is the best and most practical fuel with the biggest ecological effect, offering the maximum reduction of CO2, 100% elimination of SOx and particulates, and an 85% cut in NOx emissions, according to Ambrosov.
Sovcomflot wants to monitor the performance of its dual-fuel aframax newbuildings with a view to making changes to the specification if required for any further orders.
“We would like to have some time gap to utilise these vessels and not just jump into the water without any risk mitigation,” he says.
Sovcomflot’s engagement with LNG-fuelled aframax tankers does not stop with its six newbuildings.
It is providing technical supervision for 15 dual-fuelled tankers being built for Rosneft at Hyundai Heavy Industries in cooperation with the new Zvezda shipbuilding complex in Russian Far East.
Ambrosov reveals that Zvezda is working on hull blocks for ice-breaking supply vessels, and the shipyard could start work on the first of this new breed of aframax by 2020.