K Line has signed up to operate its third CO2 carrier for the Northern Lights joint venture set up by Shell, TotalEnergies and Equinor.

The giant Japanese shipowner said it has agreed bareboat and time charter terms to manage the 7,500-cbm newbuilding due for delivery in 2025.

K Line will run the first two ships ordered by Northern Lights, while Germany’s Bernhard Schulte contracted a fourth vessel backed by a long-term charter.

Subsidiary K Line LNG Shipping (UK) will handle the vessels from London.

The ships will carry liquefied CO2 from clients based in Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands to Northern Lights’ receiving terminal in Oygarden, Norway.

The CO2 will then be injected into the offshore reservoir for safe and permanent storage.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with K Line, a ship operator with extensive experience in liquefied gas transport and a strong safety and environmental track record,” said Northern Lights managing director Borre Jacobsen.

“These ships will be shuttling between our customers in northwest Europe and the Northern Lights onshore facilities, each transporting over 400,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.”

The first agreement with K Line dates back to December 2022.

The two initial ships, now 75% complete, are due to be delivered this year from Dalian Shipbuilding Offshore Co in China.

Crew training underway

K Line said it is working on an operation manual and commissioning protocol through cooperation with terminal operators and port authorities.

“In parallel, a crew training programme is being implemented to ensure safe and reliable operation,” it added.

K Line chief executive Yukikazu Myochin said: “Having the experience of building up the team and operational procedure, we are determined to contribute to the world’s first carbon capture and storage project by Northern Lights.”

The newbuildings are LNG dual-fuel and will be fitted with wind-assisted rotor sails and air lubrication system.

The Bernhard Schulte vessel is due in 2026, with an option for a second ship.

Bernhard Schulte said the carriers will have a 34% lower carbon footprint compared with conventional ships running on marine fuel.

Brokers have priced the units at $52m to $53m each.

Northern Lights has filled the project’s phase one capacity of 1m tonnes per annum. In phase two it will be upgraded to handle 5.2 mtpa.

Subscribe to Green Seas
TradeWinds’ weekly newsletter on sustainability and the business of the ocean digs into environmental issues every week in the maritime industries. Get it in your inbox by subscribing.