20th January 2022

SEA-LNG Members support the first LNG bunkering vessel in France to accelerate the energy transition of shipping industry

A Landmark Project

The vessel ‘Gas Vitality’ is the very first LNG bunkering vessel to be deployed in France.

Gas Vitality is ultimately owned by Japan-based Mitsui OSK Lines Ltd (MOL), one of the largest shipowners in the world.  The vessel is chartered on a long-term basis to an affiliate of France-headquartered energy company and SEA-LNG Member TotalEnergies in the port of Marseille-Fos.  The vessel is 135 meters long and 24 meters wide and will be able to load up to 18,600 m3 of LNG, stored in SEA-LNG Member GTT’s Mark III membrane tanks.   With this vessel, TotalEnergies will supply the new 15,000 TEU container ships of CMA CGM as well as the cruise ships of MSC Cruises running on LNG.

An Inaugural Sustainability Linked Loan supported by a Transition Framework

SEA-LNG Member Societe Generale has co-structured a Transition Framework relying on MOL’s overarching climate ambitions and the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles1 published by the LMA2.

Leveraging on MOL’s climate transition set forth in the “MOL Group Environmental Vision 2.1.3” which commits the Group to achieve net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 ahead of IMO’s ambitions, Societe Generale has helped MOL to develop a Transition Loan framework based on the Climate Transition Finance Handbook4 and the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles.

 “ This is a remarkable financing in two respects.  It supports MOL to deliver a key LNG bunkering project in Europe, directly contributing to the industry’s decarbonisation.  This transaction is also the first-ever transition-linked loan based on MOL’s energy transition strategy, coupled with a sustainability-linked feature incentivizing the Group to improve its fleet carbon efficiency. ”

Pierre Carassus, Head of LNG Shipping & Offshore Finance at Societe Generale

Societe Generale’s role in the maritime energy transition

Under the sustainability linked mechanism, the margin of the loan varies on a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).  In this financing, the KPI is the average Energy Efficiency Operational Indicator (EEOI) of MOL’s fleet to be assessed on a yearly basis and targeting to align with the Paris Agreement objective of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The innovative loan structure has been reviewed by the third-party DNV Business Assurance Japan5, based notably on the Climate Transition Finance Handbook and the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles.

This transaction is part of several initiatives carried out by Societe Generale to lead the financing of the shipping industry’s energy transition, like the first-ever Climate Bond Initiative-certified Green Loan in shipping closed in 2021.