Marquard & Bahls through its subsidiary Bomin, a leading provider of marine fuels, and technology company The Linde Group on Monday announced that they will establish a joint venture company in order to build an infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the maritime sector in Europe. The transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant antitrust authorities. The 50/50 joint venture company is due to start its operations in the latter part of 2012 with its headquarters in Hamburg.
The new joint venture will set out to establish an LNG supply chain and to provide reliable, safe and environmentally friendly fuel to ship owners and operators. Bomin and Linde will bring in their respective know how and experiences in the field of LNG. Linde will contribute its vast experience in cryogenics and its best in class engineering know-how while Bomin will support the joint venture with its excellent track record in maritime bunker fuel trading and operations.
The new company will establish operations in a number of key ports throughout the so-called "Emission Control Areas" (ECAs) in North-West Europe. Vessel emissions in ECAs will have to be reduced further on January 1st 2015, forcing ship owners to limit their sulphur emissions drastically. In particular compared to conventional heavy fuel oil, LNG offers close to 100 per cent reduction of emissions in sulphur and particulate matter, an 80-85 per cent reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 20-25 per cent less CO2 emissions. The use of LNG as a solution for meeting the increasingly strict regulations requires a network of LNG storage facilities to be set up for the bunkering of vessels in main European harbors.
"With the new joint venture company we want to offer LNG to ship owners as an alternative energy source with a lower environmental impact than traditional bunker fuels. The know-how combination of Bomin and Linde will enable us to offer attractive solutions in this emerging market," says Claus-Georg Nette, Member of the Executive Board of Marquard & Bahls AG.
"Bomin is committed to the bunker business on a global scale. Combining our expertise in bunkering with Linde's gases and engineering know-how adds support to the emerging LNG-fuel market. As this partnership shows, Bomin is determined to remain innovative, offering multiple fuelling solutions wherever we can," says Peter Schreiber, Chief Executive Officer of the Bomin Group.
"A readily available and cost-effective LNG infrastructure is key to the development of LNG as a maritime fuel," says Aldo Belloni, Member of the Executive Board of Linde AG. "This new joint venture underpins our LNG strategy, already visible in our recent opening of the LNG terminal in Stockholm harbor and our study for the introduction of LNG with the Hamburg Port Authority." Earlier this year, Linde also won the LNG delivery contract for the natural gas-powered "Viking Grace" ferry -- the first of its kind -- from the Finland-based Viking Line.
Global demand for LNG is expected to increase by more than 10 per cent per year, making it the fastest growing energy product in the world. In 2015, some 70 vessels are expected to run on LNG in the Nordic region. According to a study by the Danish Maritime Authority the consumption potential of LNG is estimated to reach approximately 4 million tonnes by 2020.