Royal Dutch Shell plc has ordered 10 oil tankers with dual-fuel liquefied natural gas (LNG) engines as it aims to boost its fleet.

“This significant commitment will see Shell hit a new milestone for our fleet decarbonization with an average of 50% of our crude tankers on time charter powered by dual-fuel LNG engines once in service,” said Shell Shipping & Marine global head Grahaeme Henderson. 

“There is real urgency to tackle emissions from this sector and adopting LNG while developing zero-emissions fuels options will make a significant difference to cumulative emissions.”

Four of the very large crude carriers (VLCC) were chartered from Advantage Tankers LLC, with AET and International Seaways Inc. set to provide three each. All the vessels are to be built in South Korea by Daewoo Shipping & Marine Engineering Co. Ltd., with the first operational by 2022 and on charter to Shell for seven years.

The order comes as global customers are pressing shippers to reduce their carbon footprints. Shell ordered four low-emission LNG tankers late last year. It has delivered some carbon-neutral LNG cargoes to Asia, and it recently took delivery of what it said was Europe’s first carbon-neutral LNG cargo.

The supermajor has estimated that marine LNG demand is expected to reach around 3.6 million metric tons with 45 bunker vessels expected to be in service in 2023, “matching the pace of the anticipated growth in LNG-fueled ships.”

Shell aims to have 14 LNG-fueled ships in service by the end of this year. The newbuilds are expected to bring the total global dual fuel LNG fleet to 475. The main engines and vessel design for the new ships are designed to yield the “lowest possible” methane slip and “highest fuel efficiency,” including on average 20% less fuel consumption compared to current lower-emissions models, according to Shell.