Power solutions giant Wärtsilä and Shell Oil Company have signed a Joint Co-operation Agreement aimed at promoting and accelerating the use of LNG as a marine fuel.
Supplies of low cost, low emissions LNG fuel will be made available by Shell to Wärtsilä natural gas powered vessel operators and other customers.
The agreement, which will run for several years, will focus first on supplies from the US Gulf Coast and later expand to cover a broader geographical range.
Gas fuelled marine engines are seen as a logical way for ship owners and operators to comply with ever increasing stringent environmental legislation and they will also reduce operating costs. The agreement aims to increase and ease the availability of natural gas for marine engine use as well as developing the supply chain and infrastructure to facilitate the bunkering of LNG fuel.
Wärtsilä has been at the forefront in developing dual-fuel engine technology enabling engines to be operated on both gas and diesel fuel.
Christoph Vitzthum, Group Vice President, Wärtsilä Services, said: “It is an exciting time for the industry to have Shell, a major player, committed to increasing the availability of clean natural gas as a marine fuel.”
Jaakko Eskola, Group Vice President, Wärtsilä Ship Power, added: “Clean, safe natural gas represents a true shipping paradigm shift; years ago it was sail to steam, then came the move from steam to diesel, and now it’s a new era for gas propulsion.”