Gazprom Neft, Sovcomflot ink LNG fuel pact

Russia’s Gazprom Neft, a unit of gas giant Gazprom, and compatriot shipping firm Sovcomflot have signed a deal to work on several fuels, including LNG, as they seek to slash emissions in the Russian Arctic.

Under the cooperation deal, the two firms would expand their use of digital technologies in Arctic maritime logistics management but also boost the use of fuels with a low carbon footprint, according to a Gazprom Neft statement.

Sovcomflot’s vessels transporting Arctic oil from the Prirazlomnoye and Novoportovskoye fields already use Gazprom Neft’s “Kapitan” Arctic digital logistics control system.

This digital navigation platform has helped in slashing transportation costs by up to 12 percent, Gazprom Neft said.

Currently, Sovcomflot’s vessels transport more than eight million tonnes of Gazprom Neft’s Arctic blends every year, Alexander Dyukov, Gazprom Neft’s chairman of the management board said in the statement.

Besides developing digital technologies, the duo will work on LNG and other fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia and methanol.

The duo will test “environmentally friendly” fuels on Sovcomflot’s existing tankers as part of their partnership, the statement said.

Sovcomflot already operates a fleet of LNG-powered Aframax tankers and has LNG-powered vessels on order.

In addition, Gazprom Neft also expects Russia’s first LNG-bunkering vessel, Dmitry Mendeleev, to start refueling ships later this year.

Dyukov added that plans to use LNG and other “environmentally friendly fuels in refueling vessels are going to ensure even greater environmental friendliness in Arctic shipping.”

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