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December 10, 2023

BHP unveils world’s first LNG powered bulk carrier in Singapore

By Priti Naik

World’s first liquefied natural gas fueled bulk carrier vessel was unveiled by BHP Group in Singapore. It is one of the five vessels which the mining giant will take delivery of in 2022 as part of its efforts to curb supply chain emission.

The world’s largest miner and shipper of dry bulk commodities, BHP is targeting at net zero greenhouse gas emission from its value chain by 2050. It views its fleet of LNG-powered bulkers as a key means to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants over the near term even as a majority of its fleet still runs on high-emitting fuel oil.

The Mt. Tourmaline Newcastlemax ore carrier is 299-metre (981 ft) long and was built by Eastern Pacific Shipping in China and stopped off in Singapore to take on LNG fuel. It will next head to Port Hedland in Western Australia to load iron ore that will then be shipped to customers in China. BHP Chief Commercial Officer Vandita Pant said the LNG vessels would lower emissions by about 30% per journey.

While the vessel can also still burn traditional very low sulphur fuel oil, BHP intends to use LNG to power Mt. Tourmaline as much as possible, said Pant. BHP’s head of maritime supply chain, Rashpal Bhatti, said the engine and tank set up on the new vessels will allow the company to adjust the type of gas used from “LNG as we know it right now” to more energy dense and bio-LNG fuels that are expected to be developed in the future. It can also be retrofitted with “a little bit of capital expenditure to also burn ammonia,” he said.

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