Carnival Corp. surprised the industry last year when they not only ordered 9 ships, but ordered most of them with LNG fueled power plants. LNG is still new to the maritime industry with only a handful of commercial vessels using it. Most of those vessels are dual fueled, like the aidaPrima. This means that while they mainly run off of ‘heavy fuel oil,’ they can switch over to LNG if they are able to source it.
That last part has always been a challenge. LNG requires an entirely different infrastructure to source as bunkers. From the storage facilities in the ports, to the intra-harbor transport, to the actual refueling process; it’s an entirely different procedure. Mostly because LNG has to be super cooled down to −260 °F for transportation, otherwise, it turns into a gas and evaporates.
This week, Carnival Corp announced they partnered with Shell to provide all of the needed infrastructure. The deal calls for Shell to support the first group of LNG ships Carnival will build. These will be operated by Costa and AIDA with the first ship scheduled to launch in 2019. The Costa and AIDA ships will technically be dual fueled but will primarily run off of LNG, with fuel oil only as a back up. Carnival’s order last month for three ships (two for Carnival Cruise Lines and one for P&O) will be solely powered by LNG.
Shell recently finalized their acquisition of BG Group earlier this year. The London and Houston based BG Group specializes in LNG, from the exploration and extraction to the transportation and storage of it. In fact, it was these assets that prompted Shell to hand out over $50 billion on acquiring BG.