Marquard & Bahls, through its subsidiary Bomin, and The Linde Group are to establish a joint venture company in order to build an infrastructure for liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the maritime sector in Europe.

The 50/50 joint venture company is subject to the approval of all relevant antitrust authorities, but is due to start operations in the latter part of 2012 with its headquarters in Hamburg.

Bomin is a leading provider of marine fuels and 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.

“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”

Dr Claus-Georg Nette, Member of the Executive Board of Marquard & Bahls AG

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.

“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,” explained Dr Claus-Georg Nette, Member of the Executive Board of Marquard & Bahls AG.

Regulation changes

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 1st January 2015, forcing ship owners to limit their sulphur emissions drastically. In particular, compared to conventional heavy fuel oil, LNG offers close to 100% reduction of emissions in sulphur and particulate matter, an 80-85% reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 20-25% 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 harbours.

“A readily available and cost-effective LNG infrastructure is key to the development of LNG as a maritime fuel,” added Professor Dr 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 harbour and our study for the introduction of LNG with the Hamburg Port Authority.”

Global demand for LNG is expected to increase by more than 10% 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.