BHP has welcomed the arrival of MV Mt. Tourmaline – the world’s first LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carrier – that will transport iron ore between Western Australia and Asia from 2022.
The mining company has chartered five LNG-fuelled Newcastlemax bulk carriers from Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) for five years and awarded the LNG fuel contract to Shell.
On her maiden voyage, the vessel arrived at Jurong Port in Singapore for her first LNG bunkering operation (the process of fuelling ships with LNG) which will take place through the first LNG bunker vessel in Singapore, the FueLNG Bellina. FueLNG, a joint venture between Shell Eastern Petroleum and Keppel Offshore & Marine, operates the bunker vessel.
After LNG bunkering, the 209,000-deadweight tonne vessel will leave for Port Hedland in Western Australia for iron ore loading operations.
BHP Chief Commercial Officer, Vandita Pant, said: “BHP works with our suppliers to embed innovative and sustainable solutions in our supply chain. This vessel delivers significant improvements to energy efficiency and emissions intensity, as well as reduced overall GHG emissions in our value chain. These achievements demonstrate BHP, EPS and Shell’s shared commitment to social value through innovative emissions reduction initiatives.
“These LNG-fuelled vessels are expected to reduce GHG emissions intensity by more than 30% on a per voyage basis compared to a conventional fuelled voyage and will contribute towards our 2030 goal to support 40% emissions intensity reduction of BHP-chartered shipping of our products.”
EPS CEO, Cyril Ducau, said: “Today’s historic LNG bunkering is further evidence that the industry’s energy transition is in full swing. These dual-fuel LNG Newcastlemax vessels are a world’s first, but more importantly, they represent a culture shift in shipping and mining.”
In a separate announcement, BHP confirmed it would extend its partnership with the Centre for Ironmaking Materials Research (CIMR) at the University of Newcastle with a further A$10 million ($7 million) in funding to support ongoing research into decarbonising steelmaking.
The expanded research program will focus on low carbon iron and steelmaking using BHP’s iron ore and metallurgical coal, including conventional blast furnace ironmaking with the addition of hydrogen, and emerging alternative low carbon ironmaking technologies.
The collaboration, with funding from BHP’s $400 million Climate Investment Program, will last five years and help train the next generation of PhD researchers and engineers.
Dr Rod Dukino, BHP VP Sales & Marketing Iron Ore, said: “Greenhouse gas emissions from steelmaking represent around 7-10% of global total estimated emissions and the industry remains one of the most difficult sectors in the world to abate. Research and innovation have a critical role to play in accelerating the industry’s transition to a low carbon future.
“The expanded research program with the University of Newcastle complements BHP’s existing partnerships with our key steelmaking customers in China, Japan and South Korea. We are pursuing the long-term goal of net zero Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 20501. Recognising the particular challenge of a net zero pathway for this hard-to-abate sector, we are continuing to partner with customers and others in the steel value chain to seek to accelerate the transition to carbon neutral steelmaking.”