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Maersk, Qatargas seal partnership on  LNG project


MAERSKTHE world’s largest LNG exporter, Qatargas has signed a technical collaboration agreement with the Maersk Group to explore opportunities related to the use of LNG marine propulsion.

Maritime executive News reported that Qatargas and the Maersk Group have been exploring opportunities for collaboration related to LNG marine propulsion technology for the last two years.

LNG has the potential to further reduce emissions from shipping of CO2 by up to 25 percent, of NOx by up to 40 percent and to completely eliminate SOx emissions.

It is estimated that the use of LNG propulsion can lead to a potential reduction in CO2 emissions of 25 percent compared to the use of conventional shipping fuels.

In addition to the technical collaboration agreement, a second agreement, a memorandum of understanding, was signed between Qatargas, Maersk Line and Shell International Trading Middle East Limited to evaluate LNG as a marine fuel.

Maersk Line currently operates more than one in six of the world’s container vessels. Subject to the required infrastructure being made available and the development of cost-efficient LNG propelled vessels, early predictions suggest a larger scale use of this propulsion technology by ship owners in the future. Among their many innovations, Maersk has developed an on-board lubrication oil system to recycle used lubricants resulting in savings while maintaining safe, reliable and optimized engine conditions.

Chief Executive Officer of Maersk Group, Nil Andersen said: “This cooperation between Qatargas and the Maersk Group represents an important step in developing technology to use LNG as a viable fuel for maritime transportation. The possible use of LNG propulsion technology for ships presents an opportunity to reduce both SOx emissions and to reduce the transport sectors CO2 footprint.”

Chief Executive Officer of Qatargas, Khalid Bin Khalifa Al Thani said: “Qatargas has a proven track record of technology innovations for different uses for LNG. In an ever-changing industry, innovation becomes even more important to remain competitive. We look forward to pursuing this partnership with the Maersk Group, in order to explore new or improved technology for Qatar’s LNG carriers and at the same time being able to contribute to the development of alternative cleaner fuel technology for vessel operators.”

According to the report, the technical collaboration agreement, letter of intent, between Qatargas and the Maersk Group was signed by Al Thani and Andersen during a ceremony in Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile, an LNG tanker docked at the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana recently, with only days to go before the United States ships its first export cargo of seaborne gas from the lower 48 states.

The Asia Vision LNG tanker docked at the Sabine Pass LNG terminal last Sunday, ship tracking data showed.The tanker arrived in December in the Gulf of Mexico, but has been anchored off the coast of the terminal after the first shipment from the facility was delayed due to mechanical problems.

The United State  company Cheniere Energy said it expected its first cargo to leave the facility by the end of this month or in early March.

“We will export the first cargo shortly. Touch wood, it’ll be at the end of February or in early March,” Andrew Walker, Cheniere Energy’s vice president for strategy, said during an energy industry event in Germany last week.

The Energy Atlantic LNG tanker, which was initially scheduled to pick up the first cargo from Sabine Pass, has also been sitting off the coast of the facility since January.

Once operational, Sabine Pass will be the first LNG export terminal outside of Alaska. The United States has been exporting LNG mostly to Japan from Alaska since 1969.

Cheniere Partners is developing up to six natural gas liquefaction trains at Sabine Pass, each with an expected nominal production capacity of approximately 4.5 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG.

The trains are in various stages of development, with construction of the first train complete and the commissioning process underway. Train 1 has begun producing LNG. Commissioning for train 2 is expected to commence in the upcoming months. The remaining trains are expected to commence commissioning on a staggered basis thereafter.

Construction on Trains 1 and 2 began in August 2012. Construction on trains 3 and 4 began in May 2013, and as of December 31, 2015, the overall project completion percentage for trains 3 and 4 was approximately 79.5 percent, which is ahead of the contractual schedule. Cheniere Partners expects Trains 3 and 4 to become operational in 2017.

Construction on train 5 began in June 2015, and as of December 31, 2015, the overall project completion percentage for Train 5 was approximately 14.9 percent, which is ahead of the contractual schedule. Cheniere Partners expects Train 5 to become operational in 2019.

Train 6 is currently under development, with all necessary regulatory approvals in place. Cheniere Partners expects to make a final investment decision and commence construction on train 6 upon, among other things, entering into acceptable commercial arrangements and obtaining adequate financing.

Meanwhile, Japanese ship owner, United Ocean Group (UOG) recently filed for receivership in Tokyo District Court over on December 31st having succumbed to over USD 1bn of debt. The company failed to pay it dues to the creditors, including Mizuho and Tokyo Mitsubishi, due to cash flow deterioration resulting from profit slump as shipping market underwent an economic slowdown.

Namely, the tonnage supplier experienced difficulties in securing work for its vessels accruing losses and resorting to off hire.
According to World Maritime News, the court filing was submitted under the name Ramos Corporation and includes all 38 Panama and Singapore special-purpose ship owning companies operating under UOG.

UOG’s financial problems started to affect the company in November and are linked to IBJ Leasing Co’s financing of the 81,918-dwt kamsarmax bulker United Prestige.The company’s fleet comprises 40 vessels, 33 bulk carriers and seven car carriers.

Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has advised members to recognise the need for international shipping, which accounts for 2.2 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions, to support global efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.
IMO comments follow the climate change agreement reached at the 2015 Paris Climate Change conference (COP21).
Welcoming the agreement, IMO claimed to have contributed, and said it will continue to contribute, to global greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals, reported London’s Tanker Operator.

Commenting on the Paris Agreement, IMO secretary general, Koji Sekimizu, said, “The absence of any specific mention of shipping in the final text will in no way diminish the strong commitment of IMO as the regulator of the shipping industry to continue work to address GHG emissions from ships engaged in international trade.”
The IMO has adopted energy-efficiency measures that are legally binding across the global shipping industry and apply to all countries.

For example, mandatory energy efficiency standards for new ships, and mandatory operational measures to reduce emissions from existing ships, entered into force under an existing international convention (MARPOL Annex VI) in 2013. By 2025, all new ships will be 30 per cent more energy efficient than those built last year.
IMO said this is more than a target, adding that it is a legal requirement, and demonstrates that IMO is the correct and only forum to identify solutions and an appropriate pathway for international shipping to de-carbonise with the rest of the globe, the organisation stressed.

IMO said continuing efforts will include development of a global data collection system for ship’s fuel consumption to be discussed at the next meeting of IMO’s MEPC in 2016, further consideration of a reduction target for GHG emissions from international shipping, and continued investigation of additional mechanisms for ships to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

During COP21, IMO reported on its work on further developing guidelines to support the uniform implementation of the regulations on energy-efficiency for ships; and on its efforts with regard to technical co-operation and capacity building to ensure enforcement of the new regulations worldwide, and activities to support promotion of technical co-operation and transfer of technology to improve energy efficiency of ships.

Meanwhile, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represented the shipping industry at the 2015 Paris Climate Change conference (COP21), said the sector remains committed to reducing CO2 emissions per tonne/kilometre by at least 50 per cent before 2050, compared to 2007, across the entire global merchant fleet.

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