Scrubbers 'not the way to go' as Odfjell looks at LNG

CEO Kristian Mørch talks to Tradewinds about how Odfjell will tackle 2020 emission rules.

The below is an excerpt of an interview in Tradewinds, published October 25th 2018.
Written by: Andy Pierce

Odfjell is eyeing up LNG and other alternative fuels as part of a strategy to adjust to the 2020 emissions rules.

The Oslo-listed chemical tanker owner, which is looking to grow its fleet to 100 vessels, is exploring different fuel types, as it is opposed to fitting scrubbers, given it does not want to play the new regulations as a business opportunity.

“Our job is to, in a sustainable way, make sure we burn as little fuel as we can and reduce emissions — not only sulphur — and be as efficient as we can” 

Kristian Mørch, CEO

Morch explained that while retrofitting its existing fleet to use LNG fuel is not presently a realistic ­option, it would seriously consider it to power a next wave of newbuildings. “Scrubbers is not our main avenue,” he emphasised.

Since rolling out the Odfjell Compass growth strategy in early 2017, the Norwegian shipowner has added 28 owned and chartered ships. While some vessels have come in to replace older tonnage, the fleet has increased to 86 ships, excluding those still to be delivered.

With scrubbers off the menu, it leaves Odfjell’s existing tankers looking to burn diesel or compliant low-sulphur fuel oil come 1 January 2020.


Odfjell has been working to improve the fuel efficiency of its vessels. The pronounced tilt on the propeller blades of some of its new ships is among the design changes that have achieved promising results

In 2020, Odfjell plans to keep to the established model in the chemical tanker market, in which bunker adjustment clauses are written into contracts.

Morch said his company is concerned about the incidence of bad bunkers. It is also mindful of safety and reliability issues as blended ­fuels replace the more stable and established HFO. It has been testing new fuels in preparation for 2020, by which time he said Odfjell will have the most fuel-efficient fleet in the sector.

“That means the surcharges our customers will have to pay on ­average will be smaller than with our competitors” 

Odfjell, which will have introduced more than 25 newbuildings to its fleet between 2017 and 2020, believes systematic efforts to ­reduce fuel consumption on its latest ships have cut fuel use by 20% or more.

“The only thing that will change is that instead of HFO [heavy fuel oil], it will have to be in the price of compliant fuel. To do that, we are going to provide the customers with the clarity of how that is calculated. That will show that the adjustment ­factor will be smaller than our competitors, as we burn less.”

“We are not looking to take ­advantage of the situation [IMO 2020]. We are looking at having fair and transparent mechanisms that will continue in the same way as they have today with our customers. And then in the meantime, our job is to reduce the actual emission to the environment — and, in that sense, we think non-scrubbers is the way to go.”

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