Qatargas, the Maersk Group and Shell have entered into a tripartite agreement to explore the development of LNG (liquefied natural gas) as a marine fuel in the Middle East region.
Through the joint relationship, the partners will explore the development of new markets for LNG to be used as propulsion fuel for merchant vessels. This can contribute to improve the environmental footprint of merchant shipping which currently relies predominantly on heavy fuel oils.
The partners will continue to work diligently to develop LNG as marine fuel and fulfil aspirations of supplying the merchant fleet with clean burning fuel before the end of the current decade.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Saad Sherida al-Kaabi, chairman of Qatargas; Khalid bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatargas chief executive; Nils S Andersen, the Maersk Group chief executive; and Danny Leek, Shell International Trading Middle East general manager.
The MoU envisages LNG supplies for this pioneering initiative to be made available from Qatargas 4, a joint venture between Qatar Petroleum and Shell Gas, with Maersk Line potentially using the fuel for its merchant vessels.
“We are very proud to continue to pioneer new and novel opportunities to utilise Qatar’s LNG. We are also proud to partner with industry leaders such as Maersk and Shell to create potential new market opportunities for Qatar’s LNG and, at the same time, provide ship operators around the globe with a cleaner fuel alternative to the heavy fuel oils currently in use,” al-Kaabi said.
As part of the National Vision 2030, Qatar is committed to playing a significant role in preserving and protecting the environment as well as researching and investing in new and innovative ways to achieve this, he added.
“The signing of this MoU is an important milestone in this journey. We are looking forward to continued close work and collaboration with our partners Shell and Maersk to develop the use of LNG to its full potential,” Khalid said, highlighting that Qatargas recently celebrated a global first by proving the use of LNG as a reliable marine fuel in the converted diesel engines of its time chartered vessel MV Rasheeda, now fitted with an M-Type Electronically Controlled – Gas Injection System.
Andersen said this co-operation among Qatargas, Maersk Group and Shell represents an important step in developing LNG as a viable fuel for maritime transportation.
“The possible use of LNG as fuel for ships presents an opportunity to reduce both SOx emissions and in reducing the transport sectors CO2 foot print,” he said.
“Shell is delighted to work in partnership with Qatargas and Maersk to create new market development opportunities for the use of LNG as a marine fuel in the Middle East region from its Qatargas 4 venture,” said Michiel Kool, managing director and chairman of Qatar Shell Companies.
Left to right: Andersen, al-Kaabi, Khalid and Leek after signing the agreement at the Qatargas head office.