France-based financial institution Societe Generale has joined the SEA / LNG coalition, a multi-sector industry alliance that aims to increase the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel.

The development has made the bank the first financial institution to join the coalition, which intends to leverage knowledge, networks and real-life examples to achieve a global LNG value chain to facilitate cleaner maritime shipping operations.

The strategic membership is expected to help develop a long-term financial framework to support and complement other industry works in the LNG shipping value chain.

"Societe Generale wants to play a key role in supporting the SEA \ LNG coalition to realise its goal of making LNG a viable maritime fuel."

Societe Generale Corporate and Investment Banking, Shipping Finance global head Paul Taylor said: “The use of LNG as a marine fuel is gradually becoming a global reality.

“In line with our wider environmental commitment to promoting greener solutions, Societe Generale recognises the benefits of LNG in lowering local pollution and greenhouse gas emissions when compared with traditional marine fuels.

“Societe Generale wants to play a key role in supporting the SEA \ LNG coalition to realise its goal of making LNG a viable maritime fuel for 2020 and beyond.”

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The bank previously acted as the sole mandated lead arranger, lease investor, facility and security agent, hedge provider, and lender under the €142.6m France-based lease financing of Honfleur, which was the first LNG-fuelled ferry to be commissioned by Brittany Ferries.

The transaction formed part of the European Union’s (EU) recently instituted Green Shipping Guarantee programme, which has received a funding guarantee from the European Investment Bank.