MOL and Marubeni have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of the Russian Federation to conduct a joint study to build, run and use a dual-fuel methanol carrier.

The MoU, which was signed during the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, aims to develop the Far East and Arctic regions.

Other involved entities include Russian state development corporation VEB.RF, VTB Bank and ESN Group.

Compared to vessels operating on conventional fuel oil, the new vessel is expected to cut down sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by up to 99%, particulate matter (PM) by up to 95%, nitrogen oxides (NOx) by up to 80% and CO₂ by up to 15%.

This will be attained by using methanol as a bunker for moving the vessel.

ESN Group plans to generate methanol from natural gas in the Amur Region of Russia for marine transportation.

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In a statement, MOL said: “Because methanol is liquid at normal temperature and pressure, it has the advantage of low marine transportation costs. On land, it can also be stored in ordinary tanks for liquids as a supply base.”

As agreed, Marubeni and MOL will draft a project that would deliver methanol as marine fuel in the event the demand for methanol witnesses growth in the East Asian region in the future.

Both companies will work on the project in partnership with customers and partners, both in Japan and overseas, as well as in cooperation with government-related establishments.

Furthermore, the project will focus on the reduction of the environmental impact of ocean transport.

Last month, MOL signed an MoU with Meltin MMI to deploy remotely controlled robots in ocean shipping operations, such as associated businesses, offshore businesses and vessels.

A joint study conducted by the companies will aim to introduce Meltin’s remote-control robotic technology for use in MOL’s operations.