Shell believes that natural gas could form a bigger part of the transport energy mix as a lower-carbon fuel, alongside developments in vehicle efficiency, biofuels, hydrogen and electric mobility. 

What is LNG for transport?

Cooling natural gas to -162° Celsius (-260° Fahrenheit) turns it into a liquid and reduces its volume by 600 times. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is easy and economical to ship to where it is needed.

Shell is an LNG pioneer with more than 50 years of expertise. We are expanding the use of LNG as a transport fuel for trucks and ships with potential economic and environmental benefits compared to diesel and fuel oil. Other uses include in trains, the mining sector and industrial applications. We are also looking at ways to use LNG more in our own operations.

 LNG bunker-vessel Cardissa at the Gate terminal port in Rotterdam
Cardissa is an LNG bunker-vessel that will refuel boats in Rotterdam and across Europe 

LNG for shipping

In Europe and North America, environmental regulations introduced in 2015 require shipping operators to reduce local emissions. LNG fuel, which is virtually free of sulphur and particulates, can help them meet these requirements.

LNG has the potential to be used by cruisers, ferries, barges and tug boats. It is already used as a fuel for vessels on inland waterways, such as ferries in Norway, where our company Gasnor is a leading supplier of LNG to industrial and marine operators.

In the Gulf of Mexico, Shell has chartered three special LNG-powered offshore supply vessels for its deep-water operations.

To deliver LNG to customers in north-west Europe, Shell built and recently took delivery of Cardissa, a state-of-the-art LNG bunker vessel with capacity to hold around 6,500 m3 of LNG fuel. The vessel will deliver fuel from the Gate terminal in Rotterdam and in locations throughout Europe.

Shell has also finalised a long-term agreement to charter an LNG bunker barge with a capacity to carry 3,000 m3 of LNG fuel. Operating out of Rotterdam, the LNG bunker barge will be able to refuel vessels operating on Europe’s inland waterways. The Gate terminal in Rotterdam will boost the availability of LNG as a marine fuel.

In the USA, Shell has finalised a similar agreement for an LNG bunker barge with a 4,000mfuel capacity. This is the first ocean-going barge of its kind to be based there. It will supply LNG to marine customers along the southern East Coast and support growing cruise-line demand for LNG marine fuel.

A truck getting ready to fuel at shells lng fuelling station

LNG for trucks

Used in trucks delivering goods, LNG has the potential to offer fuel cost savings when compared to conventional diesel. It can also reduce sulphur emissions, particulates and nitrogen oxides, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from production to use.

Burning LNG in spark-ignited engines is quieter than burning diesel in combustion engines. It means LNG-fuelled trucks can operate longer under noise restrictions, for example when delivering to supermarkets in residential areas.

Shell has also developed engine oils to meet the specific operating conditions of trucks and buses that run on natural gas. Shell Rimula R5 NG and Shell Rimula R3 NG effectively lubricate and clean the engine by promoting thermal stability and detergency control, keeping engines well-oiled for their best performance.

Together with TravelCentres of America, Shell has focused on developing a network of LNG fuel stations for heavy-duty trucks in the USA. Fuel lanes now operate in Texas, Louisiana and California. We will use learnings from these early sites when opening future lanes.

Since October 2015, Shell has access to import and storage capacity in the Gas Access to Europe Terminal (Gate) at the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. This enables us to supply our own LNG to marine and road customers in northwest Europe, as well as LNG fuel for our truck-refuelling network in the Netherlands and Belgium. Shell will also be the first customer at a new “break-bulk” LNG terminal being built by Gate at the port.

In December 2017, RedStar – a joint venture between Shell and Shaanxi Yanchang Group Company – opened an LNG retail station in northwest China. China is the largest LNG for transport market in the world, with more than 200,000 heavy-duty trucks and buses using LNG.

We are also working with OEMs to further develop LNG as a fuel for heavy-duty truck operators.

LNG in our operations

In Europe, we have signed a charter agreement for 15 dual-fuel inland barges to transport mineral oil products in northwest Europe, which will run mainly on LNG. The 110-metre-long barges will feature main engines built by Wärtsilä, running 95-98% on LNG fuel, and using diesel for ignition.

In the USA, we have chartered three LNG-powered offshore supply vessels equipped with dual-fuel Wärtsilä engines to support our drilling operations in the US Gulf of Mexico. The vessels meet the stringent requirements of the ABS “ENVIRO+, Green Passport” notation, making them the most environmentally-friendly offshore supply vessels in the region. 

On shore, we are using LNG to power more of our drilling rigs.

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