Unprecedented Opportunities in LNG Shipping

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Seoul, 25 March 2014: Delegates to Gastech 2014 were told on Tuesday that there were enormous growth opportunities with the development of new technology and improved safety measures.  “Today’s growth is completely unprecedented,” said Andrew Clifton, General Manager for the Society for International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators. “We have more ships and terminals than ever before, and we currently have 400 vessels with over 100 more on order,” he said. “Within 3 to 4 years, we’ll have a fleet of over 500 LNG vessels in service. It’s certainly worth mentioning that, as recently as 1997, there were only 100 vessels in service.”

Tamunoiyala Koko, Team Leader – Halifax for Lloyd’s Register, presented his risk assessment for LNGC ships transiting through the Panama Canal after the Panama Canal expansion project, which will accommodate most of the world’s LNG fleet and larger ships, and is expected to be completed in July 2015. The HAZID project takes into account all credible scenarios and accidental evidence such as human error, mechanical failures, communications errors, extreme weather, and other possibilities, Koko said. These incidents can result in possible LNGC ship grounding, and collision with other passing ships, including large vessels. The study was carried out from February 28 to March 2, 2012, looking at up to 170,000 cubic meter capacity ships with an estimated 100 LNG vessel transiting through the Panama Canal each year once the expansion is completed. “All of the scenarios considered had at most a medium risk,” he said. This risk is acceptable if sufficient controls are in place, according to the study. For 7 out of 11 medium risk hazards, no additional controls were necessary.

KH Joh, Principal Engineer at Samsung Heavy Industries, introduced his company’s new membrane-type cargo containment system for LNG tankers, which has received approval in principle and general design approval from classification societies. The new design includes a reinforced corrugated primary membrane and more robust secondary membranes made of stainless steel for improved containment system integrity. The structural capacity for the sloshing load is enhanced, reducing the cargo filling limit. The new system will “increase the transportation efficiency” and “improve operational flexibility” for LNG carriers and offshore floating vessels, Joh said.

Choi DongKyu, Deputy Director and Head of the Energy System R&D Team at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, discussed MEGI propulsion for LNG carriers, calling it an attractive way for achieving high fuel efficiency. The system minimizes the conversion loss since the MEGI engine directly drives the propeller without any energy conversion. Despite its higher fuel efficiency, the system does have a disadvantage, requiring high pressure for fuel gas, he said. Some amount of BOG must be left in the tank because of the low fuel consumption of MEGI consumption.

Delegates who opened the Gastech 2014 technical stream conference on Tuesday morning paid their respects to Robert J. Lakey, Gastech’s longest-serving chairman, who passed away this year.

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