October 25, 2018 / 9:59 AM / 22 days ago

Russia's Sovcomflot crude oil tanker completes first voyage on LNG fuel

SINGAPORE, Oct 25 (Reuters) - A crude oil tanker owned by Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot has completed its first voyage across the Baltic and North Seas operating on liquefied natural gas (LNG), the company said on Wednesday.

The Aframax tanker Gagarin Prospect delivered a cargo of 104,815 tonnes of crude oil from Primorsk to Rotterdam, the company said in a statement.

The vessel carried the first export cargo of Russian crude under a long-term time-charter contract between Sovcomflot and Royal Dutch Shell.

Sovcomflot added that the ship is the world’s first Aframax crude oil tanker designed to operate on LNG as its primary fuel.

“Switching to cleaner-burning LNG fuel allows Sovcomflot to significantly reduce its impact on the natural environment,” the company said.

“This is particularly important for ships in high-traffic areas such as the Baltic and North Seas where these ‘Green Funnel’ tankers will primarily operate.”

Sovcomflot is gradually switching its conventional tanker fleet from traditional heavy fuel oil to LNG ahead of the 2020 introduction of new rules on marine fuels that will limit the sulphur content.

There is already a sulphur emission control area for the Baltic Sea that went into effect in 2005.

The company expects to have six such LNG-fuelled Aframax tankers in operation by the beginning of second quarter of next year.

Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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