MOL, Chevron sign alliance for decarbonization

Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL) and Chevron Singapore PTE LTD recently announced that the two companies had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a strategic alliance aimed at lowering the carbon intensity of the marine energy industry. As part of this agreement, the companies will conduct joint research on next-generation fuels in various regions worldwide and jointly study safety measures and legislation for lower-carbon efforts in the marine energy industry. They will seek to collaborate on potential business opportunities that lead to a lower-carbon future.

“Through collaborations such as these, Chevron aims to lead in lower carbon intensity oil, products, and natural gas and at the same time advance new products and solutions that reduce the carbon intensity of major industries,” said Mark Ross, president of Chevron Shipping Company. “This is another way Chevron is working to advance energy progress.”

Chevron is one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. It produces crude oil and natural gas; manufactures transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, and additives; and develops technologies that enhance businesses and industries. It aims to grow its traditional oil and gas businesses, lower the carbon intensity of operations, and grow new lower-carbon businesses in renewable fuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, offsets, and other emerging technologies.

MOL senior managing executive officer Nobuo Shiotsu said, “MOL is honored to have the opportunity to jointly study GHG emission reductions through this MOU with Chevron. First, we will study and implement all possible means, including the use of next-generation fuels and the introduction of new decarbonization technologies, such as wind power and electricity, in tankers that have been chartered for a long period of time. We would then like to expand these efforts to other parts of our business.”

MOL, headquartered in Japan, is a leading shipping company operating on a global scale with about 800 vessels in service. The company develops various social infrastructure businesses centered on ocean shipping and technologies and services to meet ever-changing social needs, including environmental protection. The MOL fleet includes dry cargo ships, liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers, car carriers, and tankers.

In addition to the traditional shipping businesses, MOL also offers well-being and lifestyle businesses such as real property, terminal operation, and ferry service, as well as social infrastructure businesses such as logistics and offshore wind power. It has one of the world’s largest merchant fleets and about 140 years of history, experience, and technology.

MOL has positioned its environmental strategy as one of the key strategies in its “Blue Action 2035” management plan, and has set the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 in the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.2.” Through this alliance with Chevron, it will pursue fuel efficiency improvement and GHG reduction of vessels and contribute to realizing a low-carbon and decarbonized society.

Successful sea trial for liquefied biomethane

Meanwhile, MOL has been of a group of seven companies that have completed a successful trial of the use of liquefied bio-methane (LBM) derived from cattle manure as a marine fuel on the domestic LNG-fueled vessel Ise Mirai in Ise Bay. It marks Japan’s first use of carbon-neutral LBM derived from biomass.

Along with MOL were Air Water Inc, Techno Chubu Company Ltd, Kyoudou Kaiun Co Ltd, MOL Coastal Shipping Ltd, Cenergy Co LTD, and IHI Power Systems Co Ltd.

The trial was conducted based on an MOU signed between MOL and Air Water in February 2023, with the cooperation of JERA Co Inc, Techno Chubu, Kyoudou Kaiun (joint shipowner: Techno Chubu, MOL Coastal Shipping), truck transport Cenergy, bunkering operator Cenergy, Kyoudou Kaiun, and engine manufacturer IHI Power Systems. In the trial, Air Water supplied LBM from cattle manure in the Tokachi region of Hokkaido as part of a technology development and demonstration project adopted by Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. All the parties involved confirmed the following through ocean transport of JERA’s cargo.

LBM can be transported through the existing domestic LNG supply chain. Truck-to-ship bunkering of LBM can be completed using existing LNG tank trucks. LBM can be used by existing vessels (Ise Mirai) as marine fuel.

LNG fuel is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 25% compared to conventional fuel oil. However, further reduction of CO2 emissions can be expected through the partial use of LBM, a carbon-neutral energy source. In addition, because the main component of both LBM and LNG is methane, the existing LNG supply chains can be used, so LBM can be an effective solution to achieve low-carbon and decarbonized ship operations.