Synthetic fuel drives a giant gas tanker for the first time in the Middle East

Synthetic fuel drives a giant gas tanker for the first time in the Middle East
Synthetic fuel drives a giant gas tanker for the first time in the Middle East

Synthetic fuels have succeeded in carving out for themselves a space – albeit still limited – in the energy mix in the Middle East, despite its exorbitant cost. This is due to its many advantages that are consistent with the goals of carbon neutrality.

In addition to its high production bill, the process of producing this carbon-neutral fuel, which requires the consumption of large amounts of clean electricity, remains an obstacle to expanding its use.

In this context, Astomos Energy Corporation, the Japanese company specialized in trading and importing liquefied petroleum gas, and its compatriot, Inpex Corporation, operating in the oil industry, reached an agreement to provide synthetic fuel “B24” to a very large gas tanker in the UAE, according to the specialized website OFFSHORE ENERGY.

Under the agreement, INPEX will make the synthetic fuel available to the VLCC chartered by Astomos via a bunker vessel operated by Mangasa, an oil and shipping solutions company based in the port of Khorfakkan in the UAE.

The first case

Astomos Energy Corporation and its partner, Inpex Corporation, explained that this will be the first time of its kind to supply synthetic fuel to a large gas tanker in the Middle East.

B24 Synthetic Fuel is composed of 24% Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) and 76% Low Sulfur Fuel Oil (VLSFO), which is the conventional fuel for ships.

Dubai-based locally sourced waste-to-biofuels company Neutral Fuels will produce methyl ester of fatty acids from cooking oil waste collected from restaurants and hotels in the UAE, while Mangasa will supply low sulfur fuel oil and blend it with FAME.

Reduce carbon emissions

The use of B24 synthetic fuel is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15-20%, compared to low sulfur fuel oil.

And in the year before last (2021), Astomos Energy launched the first large gas tanker operating with liquefied oil gas in Japan as part of a plan pursued by Tokyo to achieve the goals of “carbon neutrality by 2050”.

Moreover, Astomos Energy established the “Green Business Development Office” in order to carry out strategic planning and promotion work from a comprehensive and long-term perspective, to build a low-carbon society.

In partnership with both NYK and Sustainable Energy, Astomos Energy is also involved in a study on the generation of synthetic fuels from organic waste stored on ocean-going ships.

One of the INPEX headquarters – Photo courtesy of Reuters

In turn, the new agreement is in line with the objectives set by INPEX in its long-term strategy, as well as its medium-term business plan announced in February (2023).


And at the beginning of this year (2023), INPEX officially demonstrated its explicit commitment to the development of green energy in the United Arab Emirates.



Despite the many advantages of carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, their exorbitant production cost, 100 times higher than that of gasoline or diesel, is a stumbling block to mass production, according to hydrogen insight.

The carbon-neutral synthetic fuel is produced through a complex chemical process that combines amounts of green hydrogen with carbon dioxide captured directly from the atmosphere.

Synthetic fuels are often called other names such as synthetic gasoline or electric fuels, according to information obtained by the specialized energy platform.

The cost of producing a liter of these carbon-neutral fuels exceeds €50 ($54), according to a report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

(Euro = $1.09).

The production of this type of fuel requires the consumption of large quantities of clean electricity indirectly, due to the dependence of its composition on green hydrogen extracted from water using renewable energy sources.

Perhaps this is the reason that puts this fuel in the crosshairs of criticism in terms of its exorbitant cost of production, and its consumption of large amounts of clean electricity.

However, this carbon-neutral fuel is an ideal choice for fossil-fuel car producers in Europe, as it aligns with calls for internal combustion engines to be banned entirely and to be allowed to run on low-carbon fuel sources.

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