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LNG considered for maritime shipper fuel

French energy companies sign agreement to explore how to replace heavy fuels with super-cooled gas.

By Daniel J. Graeber
French energy company ENGIE exploring ways to use super-cooled liquefied natural gas to power maritime shipping vessels. Photo courtesy of ENGIE.
French energy company ENGIE exploring ways to use super-cooled liquefied natural gas to power maritime shipping vessels. Photo courtesy of ENGIE.

PARIS, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- French energy company ENGIE said it was moving on efforts to promote liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel source for maritime shippers.

The energy company signed an agreement with French shipping company CMA CGM to examine the role for the super-cooled form of gas.

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"[LNG] is undoubtedly the fuel of the future of the maritime shipping industry that will progressively substitute heavy fuel oil over the next few decades," Farid Salem, the shipping company's top executive, said in a statement.

Maritime travel company Carnival Corp. in early October signed a deal to power its cruise ships with LNG supplied by Dutch energy company Shell to become the first company of its kind to power vessels with the alternative fuel source. At the onset, Shell will supply LNG to two ships set for launch in 2019. The travel company said the agreement is part of a green initiative meant to reduce its environmental footprint, a position emphasized in the agreement between the two French companies.

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Shell this year gained leverage in the liquefied natural gas market with its acquisition of rival BG Group, which had a strong position in the U.S. LNG export market before the merger.

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"For ENGIE, natural gas is a key element in the energy transition," CEO Isabelle Kocher said. "The group is actively engaged in the development of the diverse uses of retail LNG, especially for a greener mobility."

The French company known formerly as GDF Suez last month was selected by Beijing Gas Group to supply 10 shipments of liquefied natural gas over 12 months starting in November.

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