First LNG bunkering operation takes place in the Port of Marseille

TotalEnergies Marine Fuels and the Cruise Division of MSC Group have successfully completed the first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation at the Port of Marseille Fos, Southern France.

MSC Cruises’ ship, World Europa, was delivered in October 2022 by Chantiers de l’Atlantique at the Saint Nazaire shipyard in France. It is 333 metres long and, according to reports, is the best performing large cruise ship operating in the world in terms of CO2eq emissions per passenger.  

TotalEnergies Marine Fuels’ chartered LNG bunker barge, the Gas Vitality, refuelled the MSC Cruises vessel via a ship-to-ship transfer of 2,500-m³ of LNG at the port on April 22nd, while guest operations continued as normal. It is hoped that the successful execution of these simultaneous operations underscores TotalEnergies’ Marine Fuels ability to safely deliver commercial LNG bunkering operations.

The operation marks the start of the previously announced LNG bunker supply contract between TotalEnergies and the Cruise Division of MSC Group in March 2021, as the companies drive forward their respective decarbonisation plans. Under the agreement, TotalEnergies Marine Fuels will supply approximately 45,000 tonnes of LNG per year to MSC Cruises’ vessels at Marseille.

“We are excited to support the Cruise Division of MSC Group in their decarbonisation journey and to help the Port of Marseille Fos become an LNG bunker hub for the Mediterranean region,” said Philippe Charleux, senior vice president for lubricants and specialties, TotalEnergies. “This operation also expands our LNG bunkering capabilities to the cruise ship segment, demonstrating our ability to serve a broader range of shipping clients, as the industry strives to reduce emissions. In line with TotalEnergies’ climate ambition, we will continue to work hand-in-hand with our industry partners to develop and scale up new, lower-carbon and ultimately, zero-carbon fuel solutions for shipping.”

“This first LNG bunkering operation in Marseille is an important milestone for our company as we welcome MSC World Europa for her first summer season in the Mediterranean,” Patrick Pourbaix, managing director of MSC Cruises in France, said. “Featuring a range of unprecedented innovations in terms of environmental and marine technologies MSC World Europa represents a major step forward on our journey towards meeting our target of net-zero emissions by 2050. LNG is not only the cleanest marine fuel currently available at scale, but also a transitional fuel as we look ahead to source and use synthetic LNG or other alternative non-carbon fuels as soon as they become available at scale.”

Marine LNG is said to sharply reduce emissions from ships and significantly improve air quality, in particular when at berth for the benefit of port cities and communities in coastal areas. The use of marine LNG therefore impacts positively not only the city where LNG bunkering will take place, but it could also pave the way forward for all ports in the Mediterranean to meet the new International Maritime Organization regulations taking effect in 2025 as part of its new Emission Control Area (ECA) designation. Used as a marine fuel, LNG can help to cut sulfur emissions and fine particle emissions by 99 per cent, nitrogen oxide emissions by up to 85 per cent and greenhouse gas emissions by around 20 per cent.

TotalEnergies said that it is supporting the growing role of LNG in shipping’s energy transition through being actively invested in LNG bunkering infrastructure, which is critical to support its shipping customers’ decarbonisation ambitions through the uptake of LNG as a marine fuel. The Company currently charters two 18,600-m³ LNG bunker vessels: the Gas Agility, at the Port of Rotterdam, Netherlands; and the Gas Vitality, at the Port of Marseille-Fos, France.

Since the start of TotalEnergies Marine Fuels’ LNG bunkering operations in November 2020, the Gas Agility and the Gas Vitality have performed over a hundred LNG bunkering operations. Notably, both vessels have conducted world-premier, large-scale operations across these bunker hubs with high levels of performance and safety records.

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