World's largest bunkering vessel chartered by Shell sails for hub port in Rotterdam

By Lim Chang-won Posted : March 21, 2022, 14:41 Updated : March 22, 2022, 09:53

[Courtesy of SM Group]

SEOUL -- The world's largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering vessel built by a subsidiary of South Korea's Hyundai shipbuilding group and chartered by Shell, a global energy and petrochemical group, has left for a hub port in Rotterdam in the Netherlands for its mission to load and supply fuel for bunker tanks.

K. LOTUS is an 18,000 cubic meters bunkering vessel that will supply LNG fuel to ships at major European ports for up to seven years. It is equipped with a cylindrical tank that can safely transport LNG at a cryogenic temperature. The ship's reliquefaction system liquefies boil-off gas and supplies it as a propulsion fuel.

Based on Shell's charter contract in 2019, Korea Line LNG, a subsidiary of South Korea's mid-sized business conglomerate SM Group, has established a joint venture with Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS), a state-run company that operates LNG regasification terminals and natural gas pipelines, to sign a shipbuilding contract with Hyundai Mipo Dockyard.

Korea Line, which is in charge of K. LOTUS' management and operation, would deploy more LNG carriers and bunkering ships. "Based on the experience of joint investment with KOGAS, we will play a leading role in the LNG bunkering market at home and abroad," CEO Kim Man-tae said in a statement on March 21. 

KOGAS hopes to secure bunkering know-how in Europe and contribute to activating South Korea's bunkering market. "We will expand our new growth energy business by securing advanced operational know-how for LNG bunkering and establish an industrial environment that grows with domestic private companies," said KOGAS CEO Chae Hee-bong. 

KOGAS has promised to build bunkering facilities for LNG-powered ships and expand LNG charging stations in ports and cargo terminals. LNG is a proven commercial solution to meet ever-tightening emissions requirements.

In response to growing demands for eco-friendly ships, South Korean shipbuilders work hard to secure a competitive edge in LNG-powered vessels and upgrade technologies such as liquefaction, re-liquefaction, gas engine fuel supply systems, cryogenic storage containers, and power generation using cold energy. The natural evaporation, known as boil-off, is unavoidable and should be removed to maintain the pressure of cargo tanks.
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