GDF SUEZ, Mitsubishi and NYK signed a framework agreement aiming to develop the LNG Bunkering market worldwide through LNG Bunkering Vessels.

This partnership results in two first contracts: on behalf of the venture, the NYK’s order of an LNG bunkering vessel and an LNG bunkering contract between GDF SUEZ and United European Car Carriers (UECC), a leading short-sea operator. The partners will provide their know-how and experience to develop this first project in the Northern Europe Emissions Controlled Area (ECA)* from Zeebrugge, in Belgium.

Jean-Marie Dauger, Executive Vice-President of GDF SUEZ in charge of the Global Gas & LNG business line declared, “GDF SUEZ regards LNG as the future of bunkering. These new agreements emphasize the Group’s Retail LNG strategy and demonstrates our commitment to the development of LNG bunkering business on a global scale, alongside with harbor infrastructures and ship operators.”

The LNG bunkering vessel will be built in the Korean shipyard Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction with a delivery expected by 2016. Its home port will be Zeebrugge where GDF SUEZ has already secured long term access rights in the Fluxys LNG terminal. The bunkering vessel will be operated by NYK and will supply a range of end-customers.

The first customer will be UECC which purchased LNG to GDF SUEZ on a medium-term basis for its two new dual fuel (LNG and marine gasoil) car carrier ships operating in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. By end 2016, the LNG will be delivered by means of ship-to-ship transfer from the LNG bunkering vessel to the new ships ordered by UECC in the port of Zeebrugge. LNG will be sourced from the supply portfolio of GDF SUEZ. The use of LNG as fuel for meeting the increasing environmental constraints requires a network of LNG bunkering services to be set up for the bunkering of vessels in main harbors, with reliable supply chains.

GDF SUEZ is a global LNG player and the main LNG importer in Europe. GDF SUEZ has the third largest LNG supply portfolio in the world, supplied from six different countries, and representing 16 mtpa. It controls a large fleet of 14 LNG carriers under mid and long term charter agreements. The fleet is permanently optimized to satisfy GDF SUEZ long term commitments and short term opportunities. The group has also a significant presence in regasification terminals around the world, including FSRU’s and therefore a large and flexible access to downstream markets.