Keppel to Build South East Asia’s First LNG Bunkering Vessel for Port of Singapore

ships at anchor
Photo: Shutterstock / By Zheltikov Dmitry

Singapore shipbuilder Keppel will build South East Asia’s first liquefied natural gas bunkering vessel with delivery planned for 2020.

FueLNG, a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine and Shell Eastern Petroleum, placed an order with Keppel Singmarine, a subsidiary of Keppel O&M, to build the 7,500m3 LNG bunkering vessel which will be the first in Singapore to provide ship-to-ship LNG bunkering services.

FueLNG will receive a grant of up to $3 million as part of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA) LNG Bunkering Pilot Programme (LBPP).

The vessel will be built to the proprietary design, MTD 7500U LNG, developed by Keppel O&M’s ship design and development arm, Marine Technology Development (MTD), for “cleaner and safer bunkering activities” within the port of Singapore, Keppel says.

Capable of running on both LNG and marine diesel oil, Keppel says key features will include high maneuverability with a twin screw azimuthing propulsion system which will allow it to carry out bunkering without tug assistance. Propulsion and power management systems will also be optimized for efficient fuel consumption.

As global shipping emissions standards tighten, the maritime industry is increasingly turning to cleaner burning LNG fuel to comply with regulations. As of early 2018, there were 123 LNG-fueled ships in operation and 150 on order, according to Clarkson’s data.

Based to a survey by LNG World Shipping, however, there were only five ship-to-ship LNG bunkering vessels in service around the world and 10 on order as of February 2018.

“I am pleased LNG will be available mid 2020 in Singapore,” said Lauran Wetemans, Director of FueLNG and General Manager of Shell Downstream LNG. “The decision to develop the LNG Bunker vessel demonstrates the confidence FueLNG has in LNG as a marine fuel. Singapore is a key maritime hub and both partners will contribute specific expertise in the venture with Shell using its global experience to make LNG a reality. We continue to work closely with the MPA, the port operators and industry stakeholders to ensure LNG bunkering will be available.”