Flogas Britain has partnered with Associated British Ports (ABP) to bunker a ship with liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first time ever in the UK.

The pioneering project, which mirrors similar successful schemes in other European countries, saw a 110-metre carrier named Ireland — operated by Norwegian shipping firm KGJ Cement AS — refuelled with LNG at the Port of Immingham on Wednesday 16 August.

The joint venture between Flogas (a major UK LNG provider) and UK port operator ABP marks a significant and unprecedented step forward for maritime bunkering in the UK. It means ships from across the globe will now have direct access to LNG — a fuel that is becoming increasingly popular in shipping, due to its ability to help vessels comply with current and future climate legislation.

Lee Gannon, managing director at Flogas, explains: “At Flogas, we pride ourselves on leading the way when it comes to developing the LNG industry in the UK, and exploring new opportunities for end users to benefit from this highly versatile fuel. There is great potential for LNG in the maritime industry as a more environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional oil-based bunker fuels, but until now this potential has remained untapped here in the UK.”

Although only a limited number of ships currently bunker with LNG, demand is expected to grow rapidly as environmental regulations increasingly prohibit the use of polluting heavy fuel oils. Both Flogas and ABP see potential to replace thousands of tonnes of heavy fuel oil each year with cleaner, cost- effective LNG.

Gannon con- tinues: “We’re very pleased to have partnered with the country’s leading port operator, ABP, to turn vision into reality; our specialist expertise and theirs have come together perfectly to make this the success we knew it could be. We’re looking forward to working with ABP and other prospective partners on future projects — especially as the popularity of LNG continues to gather pace in the maritime industry, in line with an increasing focus on reducing environmental impact.”

Mark Frith, port manager for ABP Immingham and Grimsby, adds: “We are proud to be a key part of this flagship operation, which has really put the UK on the map as the latest European hub for more climate-friendly bunkering. Demand is already beginning to shift away from oil across the international fleet, and we very much see natural gas taking its place as the marine fuel of choice. We look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of ships to Immingham as a result of our new and unique offering in partnership with Flogas.”

The new tanker-to-ship service provides the flexibility needed to service current demand, but as the LNG marine market grows, Flogas will invest in storage and bunkering facilities at ABP ports when required.


LNG is produced by liquefying natural gas to significantly reduce its volume, so that it can be more efficiently transported.

Off mains, high energy users across all sectors, which would otherwise use oil (or electricity) to drive large manufacturing or industrial processes, would benefit by switching from oil to LNG — which is also ideal for large logistics operations, such as road haulage and shipping.

The UN International Maritime Organization has placed a cap on sulphur content in marine fuel oil from 2020, reducing limits from 3.5% to 0.5%. According to the Financial Times newspaper, “ship owners will have to switch to more expensive higher quality marine fuel, invest in emissions-cleaning systems, or switch to alternative fuels such as liquefied natural gas”.


Flogas has more than 30 years’ experience in providing tailored energy solutions to both commercial and domestic customers across the UK. From liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mains gas — the company delivers high-performance, reliable, cost-effective energy solutions to suit customers’ exact needs — making it a leading ‘expert in energy.’


UK port operator ABP has 21 ports and other transport related businesses creating a unique national network capable of handling a vast array of cargo. ABP contributes ZAR 101 billion to the UK economy every year and supports 84,000 jobs. The four ports on the Humber- Grimsby, Immingham, Hull and Goole- handle more than 58mt (million tonnes) of cargo between them each year worth approximately ZAR 1,350 billion. Grimsby and Immingham form the UK’s busiest trading gateway and move around 50mt of cargo per annum.