Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has revealed that the first offshore liquefied natural gas bunkering articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit in the US is ready for operation.

The unit, Q-LNG 4000, is an integral part of the LNG infrastructure along the south-east US coast, Shell Trading (US) and service provider Q-LNG Transport said in a joint statement.

The Q-LNG 4000 is designed to provide ship-to-ship transfers of LNG to vessels utilising LNG and ship-to-shore transfers to small-scale marine distribution infrastructure

This critical milestone in the development of marine LNG infrastructure is said to be an important step in the safe, reliable transportation and delivery of LNG in North America.

Shell's net-zero emissions goals

Q-LNG 4000 was initiated as part of Shell’s strategic plan to develop a global LNG bunkering network complementing other developments in Asia, northern Europe and the western part of the Mediterranean.

“Shell has an ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner, in step with society, and we are working hard to deliver the kind of solutions our customers need now to help them decarbonise,” said Karrie Trauth, Shell’s general manager for shipping and maritime, Americas.

“LNG is an important part of the solution today and I’m proud that this vessel will effectively double the number of LNG bunker vessels in the US and making it possible for us to continue to help others accelerate their own transition.”

The barge, which was constructed by VT Halter Marine in Pascagoula, Mississippi complements Shell’s existing global network of six LNG bunker vessels to meet the growing global demand for cleaner maritime fuels.

“All of my companies, including Q-LNG, are focused on, and will continue to do our part to design, build and operate vessels that will assist with the quest to decarbonise,” added Q-LNG chief executive Shane Guidry.

Compared to heavy fuel oil, LNG reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21% for two-stroke engines and up to 15% for four-stroke medium speed engines as well as significantly reducing pollution from nitrogen oxides and particulate matter compared to conventional marine fuels.