Spanish LNG terminal owner and network operator Enagás said the keel-laying had taken place of the first liquefied natural gas bunkering vessel to be built in a Spanish shipyard.
The construction is taking place at the Armon Shipyard in the northwest Spanish port of Gijón. The yard was founded in 1963 and is now one of the leading private shipbuilders in the European Union.
“Once operational, the ship will use the Enagás LNG terminal in the Port of Barcelona for the loading and subsequent supply of LNG to ships that berth in the port or make stops to refuel before continuing their route,” explained Enagás
The formal keel-laying ceremony took place at the yard, attended by executives involved in the project, including the Enagás subsidiary Scale Gas and Knutsen OAS Shipping, the Norwegian fleet operator and owner of the bunkering newbuild.
The ship will have an LNG storage capacity of 5,000 cubic metres, be 92.75 metres in length with a beam of 16.90 metres and draught of 4.25 metres.
The vessel will itself be powered by LNG fuel and will comply with all safety measures, as established by the different regulations.
The project is also being supported by the Port of Barcelona, which is keen to be part of the Mediterranean LNG fuel hub for shipping.
“The bunkering initiative is framed within the European Union's funding programme for transport, Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), which has approved €9 million ($10.7M) for its implementation,” said Enagás.
While Knutsen will own the vessel and Enagás will host the ship at the Barcelona terminal, the supply of the LNG for bunkering will be guaranteed by Shell Spain.
“Shell plans to double its existing LNG bunkering infrastructure on key international trade routes by the mid-2020s and this vessel will play an important role in that journey,” explained Enagás.
Enagás noted that Shell completed the first LNG ship-to-ship bunkering in Barcelona in 2019 and said it was looking forward to working with the partners on this project.
“In addition to promoting more sustainable maritime transport and improving air quality in the city of Barcelona, this project will be a further step to consolidate Spain and the Port of Barcelona as European LNG bunkering locations,” stated Enagás.