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Mitsui & Co, Novatek Gas & Power and Sumitomo have become the latest members of SEALNG, a not-for-profit multi-sector industry coalition advocating the use of LNG in shipping operations.

SEALNG aims to speed up the adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a clean marine fuel and works to promote its status as a viable alternative to traditional bunker fuels.

The addition of the three new members is expected to help in breaking down the various commercial barriers to the adoption of LNG.

SEALNG chairman and executive vice-president Tote Peter Keller said: “We are pleased to welcome Novatek, Mitsui, and Sumitomo to our growing coalition.

"Each of the global organisations brings with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable to SEALNG as we work to realise our goal of making LNG an important maritime fuel."

Mitsui & Co is a Japanese trading, investment, and service enterprise with business interests in areas including iron and steel products, mineral and metal resources, infrastructure projects, chemicals, integrated transportation systems, and food resources.

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By GlobalData

The company has invested in 11 LNG projects to date, of which eight are currently in production.

Mitsui is considered a proactive player in the LNG bunkering movement and has participated in an LNG bunkering pilot programme in Singapore. It has also signed an MoU with Gazprom, pledging cooperation in LNG bunkering studies.

Mitsui & Co gas business development division general manager Kenichiro Yamaguchi said: “Mitsui has an excellent track record in the field of LNG and is well positioned to affect change within the entire value chain.

"As the IMO’s global sulphur cap approaches in 2020, we continue to continuously advocate for cleaner energy, including the promotion of LNG as a marine fuel.

"We look forward to leveraging our company’s position to work with our fellow members towards promoting sustainable LNG bunkering operations.”

"Each of the global organisations brings with them a wealth of knowledge and experience that will be invaluable to SEALNG as we work to realise our goal."

Novatek is an independent natural gas producer in Russia with more than 20 years of experience in the exploration, production, processing and marketing of natural gas and liquid hydrocarbons.

The organisation's upstream activities are concentrated in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Region, which accounts for around 80% of the country's natural gas production and 16% of total gas production worldwide.

It aims to become the largest exporter of LNG within the next decade by tapping into Arctic gas.

Novatek’s management board Leonid Mikhelson said: “The recent adoption of stricter emission standards for marine transportation by 2020 is consistent with our strategy for entering into new prospective LNG market segments, including bunkering.

"Global environmental requirements create the basis for transiting the global fleet towards cleaner types of fuels. We are confident that more shipping companies will opt for LNG to meet these stricter requirements, and we are ready to facilitate the LNG bunkering market and infrastructure development.”

Sumitomo is a Japan-based firm with a presence in the pipeline gas trading sector in the US. The company is involved in an LNG liquefaction project in the US known as the Cove Point LNG Project. It is also into LNG trading, and owns and operates LNG carriers.

Sumitomo Corporation energy division executive officer and general manager Shuichi Suzuki said: “We are proud to be joining a coalition whose vision for LNG as a marine fuel aligns well with our mission statement and our business philosophy, which is outlined in our ‘Material Issues to Achieve Sustainable Growth with Society’ framework, especially “Achieving Harmony with the Global Environment”.

Yokohama-Kawasaki International Port Corporation (YKIP), Marubeni Corporation, Toyota Tsusho Petroleum, JAX LNG and Petronet LNG also recently joined the coalition, which now comprises 29 members following the latest additions.