Royal Dutch Shell plc, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) trader, has chartered four newbuild, low-emission LNG tankers to be delivered beginning in mid-2024.

Shipping

“These ships will play a key role in lowering emissions from the Shell time charter fleet,” said Head of Shell Shipping & Maritime Grahaeme Henderson. “As well as reducing emissions from our own operations, we are actively working with the industry to help accelerate shipping’s progress towards net-zero.”

The charter agreements were signed by subsidiary Shell Tankers (Singapore) Pvt. Ltd. with Norwegian shipper Knutsen OAS Shipping AS, South Korean shipper Pan Ocean Co. Ltd. and investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

The ships each would have capacity of 174,000 cubic meters, equivalent to about 3.7 Bcf of natural gas. They would be built by South Korean firms Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. and Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries Co. Ltd.

The vessels, which would be equipped with efficient dual-fuel X-DF engines and boil-off management plans, would reduce carbon emissions by about 50% compared with 2008 steam turbine LNG carriers, Shell management said. Efficiencies would be optimized using Shell’s proprietary ship transportation software, JAWS, to further reduce emissions.

Shell previously announced charters of eight ships in the same class in December 2019 and August, management said.

The LNG industry has become increasingly focused on reducing emissions during production and transportation. Shell in June 2019 signed deals to sell the world’s first two carbon neutral LNG cargoes, with one going to South Korea’s GS Energy and the other to Japanese utility Tokyo Gas Co. Ltd.