BHP chief commercial officer Vandita Pant said the LNG-fuelled vessels would virtually eliminate SOx emissions and significantly reduce NOx emissions. BHP also estimates that using LNG vessels will result in a 30% reduction in CO2 emissions per voyage compared to conventional fuel along the Western Australia-China route.
Ms Pant said “The tender marks a progressive shift for BHP and the broader mining and shipping industry and is a significant step toward lowering greenhouse gas emissions in the 1.5Bn-tonne iron ore seaborne market.”
She added “The LNG bunkering time charter contract, with a total cost of ownership less than a conventionally fuelled Newcastlemax, will enable BHP to manage the fuel supply risk, build LNG operations capability internally and capture opex benefits through optimisation of voyage operations and fuel utilisation.”
EPS chief executive Cyril Ducau said "When these vessels deliver in 2022, they will be the cleanest and most efficient in the entire dry bulk shipping fleet and will be IMO 2030-compliant eight years ahead of schedule."
The fleet of 209,000-dwt vessels with be fitted with MAN Energy Solutions’ ME-GI engines which the manufacturer claims reduces methane slippage to negligible levels. The ME-GI engine successfully completed an LNG gas trial in South Korea last month.
BHP released the LNG-fuelled bulk carrier tender in July 2019 and subsequently completed due diligence to identify and short list tenderers. While further details of the charter rates were not disclosed, BHP said the LNG bunkering supply contract is expected to be awarded in October 2020.
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