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Dorian LPG: The case for an alternative ship fuel

John Hadjipateras had been planning to make the case for LPG as a ship fuel at Posidonia this week. His plans, however, have been somewhat sideswiped by last week’s news that fellow VLGC operator BW LPG had made a $1.1bn move to acquire his company.

Hadjipateras will not be drawn on the takeover talk when Maritime CEO comes calling. The board is reviewing the deal, and Hadjipateras is more keen to get back to his pet topic.

Fuel choices are set to be a hot subject of debate at this year’s Posidonia. For Hadjipateras the scrubbers versus distillates versus LNG debate is missing a trick.

Hadjipateras is happy to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to LPG as a viable alternative fuel for shipping, splashing out on a series of pioneering initiatives to make LPG a real alternative marine fuel.

Dorian LPG recently started a program with Hyundai Global Service on the research of adopting LPG as a ship fuel, having earlier engaged class society ABS to help look into the matter. Engine upgrades to LPG on the Dorian fleet are likely to commence in 2020 upon MAN B&W finalising its engineering design and production of the ME-LGIP engine.

Dorian’s ships already burn an average of four to seven tons less fuel than older vessels, creating what Hadjipateras calls “an inherent competitive advantage”.

“We believe in the viability of LPG as a marine fuel. This project will give us the option to burn the most economically advantageous source of fuel, thereby increasing Dorian’s competitive advantage,” Hadjipateras tells Maritime CEO.

Hadjipateras, who has been in shipping since 1972, is better prepared than most of his peers for the impending 2020 sulphur cap. Two of New York-listed Dorian’s VLGCs are already equipped with scrubbers, and 17 additional VLGCs are scrubber ready.

“The Dorian LPG fleet was designed since new to allow for such flexibility,” Hadjipateras says, adding: “Dorian expects LPG fuel to become a more mainstream alternative to MGO or compliant bunkers that shipping companies will closely consider leading into and beyond the implementation of the new SOx emissions standard in 2020.”

Dorian LPG currently owns and operates 22 modern VLGCs. In recent months it has concluded three sale and leaseback deals in Japan.

Greek national Hadjipateras is based in Stamford, Connecticut. His family can trace its shipping heritage back to a first steamship purchase 112 years ago.

This interview first appeared in the latest version of Maritime CEO magazine, which Splash readers can access here.


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