Proman Stena Bulk, the joint venture between leading tanker company Stena Bulk and the leading methanol producer Proman, has formally christened its state-of-the-art methanol-fuelled 49,900 DWT tanker Stena Pro Marine. The ceremony took place at the Port of New Orleans, and marked another significant milestone for the methanol-fuelled joint venture fleet.
Dignitaries and guests from both Proman and Stena Bulk, alongside notable figures from the US Gulf Coast’s maritime industries, assembled to celebrate the methanol tanker at the port on the 24th of October. The naming ceremony was the first for a methanol-fuelled vessel in the Port of New Orleans, and in the wider US Gulf Coast region.
The city was chosen for the naming ceremony because of its strategic position on the US Gulf Coast. New Orleans was the natural choice for the ceremony, reflecting the importance of the port city to the JV partners.
Stena Bulk has a long-standing presence in the US and in Houston. Proman has significant methanol storage and transport operations along the Mississippi River, as well as production facilities in development in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and methanol plants in Pampa and Beaumont, Texas.
Attendees of the naming ceremony were addressed by David Cassidy, Proman’s Chief Executive, and Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk. The ceremony concluded with a customary champagne christening, during which Mrs. Katarina Hånell was honoured as the vessel’s godmother.
Delivered in mid-2022, Stena Pro Marine is a 49,990 DWT dual-fuel mid-range (MR) tanker. The vessel was constructed at Guangzhou Shipyard International Co Ltd (GSI) in China. The ship has been in full-time operation since its delivery and consumes 12,500 tonnes of methanol annually.
Burning methanol onboard eliminates local pollutants like SOx and Particulate Matter (PM), reduces NOx emissions by 80%, and lowers CO2 emissions by up to 15% on a tank to wake basis compared to conventional marine fuels. Given the Port of New Orleans’ standing as a leading US cruise port, and close proximity to the city, the ceremony also offered an opportunity to highlight the potential to substantially mitigate local air pollution, offering a technology-proven and sustainable solution for the high volume of cruise and cargo traffic.
These reductions mean that the Proman Stena Bulk vessels are able to meet both long-term decarbonisation ambitions with near-term local pollutant reduction, directly benefitting communities such as those living and working around the Port of New Orleans.
The large volume of methanol storage and production facilities in the Houston and Louisiana region also offer access to storage, and substantial volumes of methanol; underscoring the opportunity for the region to become a major methanol as a marine fuel hub.
Earlier this year, Proman Stena Bulk successfully completed the first ever barge-to-ship methanol bunkering on the US Gulf Coast, showcasing the practicality and relevance of methanol as a viable marine fuel option.
Speaking on the naming ceremony, David Cassidy, Chief Executive of Proman, said: “Stena Pro Marine has already proven to be a significant addition to our fleet since its delivery in the middle of last year. Given the region’s importance to global energy supplies, we are thrilled to name this vessel in New Orleans, and this event provides us with a wonderful opportunity to gather with partners, friends, and industry leaders and reaffirm our commitment to supporting and enabling a sustainable shipping industry.”
Erik Hånell, President and CEO of Stena Bulk, added: “The naming ceremony for Stena Pro Marine comes as yet another marker on our shared journey with Proman to prove the viability of methanol as a marine fuel. By gathering in New Orleans, a key hub on the US Gulf Coast, we show to US and global shipping that methanol is technically feasible as a marine fuel today. We look forward to furthering our collective vision for methanol within the maritime industry.”