OCEAN carrier Maersk has signed an agreement with Norwegian state-owned oil major Equinor for the supply of green methanol for Maersk’s first methanol-enabled containership.

Under the deal, Equinor will supply green methanol for the first months of the feeder vessel’s operation, from September 2023 into the first half of next year.

A statement from Maersk said the agreement ensures green methanol supply for the ship from its entry into operation on a loop from Northern Europe into the Baltic Sea. The green methanol will be bunkered in Rotterdam.

Equinor senior vice-president for the liquid commodity segment Alex Grant said the company is pleased to be partnering up with Maersk in delivering greener fuels to the marine industry.

“Equinor is an established player in the European methanol market through its production plant at Tjeldbergodden and we have ambitions to be a key provider of green methanol in the marine fuel segment,” he said.

The biomethanol to be used in the ship is produced from biogas from manure. The biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the existing gas grid and the methanol is produced from the biomethane in the grid on a mass-balance basis.

The existing European biogas certificate system is used to trace the attributes of the biomethane to the biomethanol and safeguard against double-claims. This way, green methanol can be produced in existing facilities using existing infrastructure and plants enabling a quick route to market.

According to Maersk, the method can contribute to a greener gas grid while capturing harmful methane emissions that would arise from the manure feedstock if left untouched. The biomethanol is ISCC EU certified in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.

 A.P. Moller – Maersk chief infrastructure officer Rabab Boulos said it is critical to get energy majors to the table and start supplying future fuels at scale.

“This is the form of engagement we need to continue accelerating the pioneering journey towards a green fuel economy for global shipping,” Ms Boulos said.

“With more than 100 methanol enabled vessels on order across the industry, the demand for green fuel production is rising and will continue to do so in the years to come.”

Long term, the feeder vessel will be fueled by e-methanol from a plant in Southern Denmark, operated by European Energy, which is expected to come on-stream in the first half of 2024.