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Wärtsilä and CHI natural gas operating fleet concept granted AiP

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Wärtsilä Corp. has been awarded an Approval in Principle (AiP) certificate by Lloyd’s Register (LR) for a natural gas operating fleet concept developed with COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry Co. (CHI).

The development project was carried out under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between the three parties in June 2016.

The concept aims to provide global operators with a more efficient and economical fleet design that meets both existing and anticipated environmental requirements according to the classification rules. The fleet consists of four vessels overall: a floating liquefaction natural gas barge; an LNG regasification barge; an LNG storage barge; and a pusher tug. The pusher tug is capable of transporting the three barges.

The advantages of the concept include its operative flexibility and its CAPEX and OPEX. The pusher tug means that all of the units are mobile. The number and selection of units will depend on each individual project, since not all of the concept’s units are necessary for every project. For instance, the concept can act as an LNG carrier (utilising just the pusher tug and the LNG storage barge), or it could be used for more complicated projects, involving both liquefaction and regasification units (utilising all of the units). The modular design of the liquefaction and regasification units means that the concept is suited for gas plants in the range of 50 – 200 MW. In addition to this, the low draft design makes it suitable for gas power plant projects in South East Asia.

In the statement, Wärtsilä claims that the project has obtained the authority of China’s National Patent Office, and has been conceptualised by CHI. CHI also carried out the design and engineering development, especially relating to the hinge joint, mooring arrangement, ship type and seakeeping analysis. Wärtsilä supported the project using its experience in providing LNG systems for the complete value chain. When ordered, it is expected that the fleet vessels will feature Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines and steerable thrusters, the Wärtsilä LNGPac gas storage and supply system, a Wärtsilä liquefaction module, a Wärtsilä LNG cargo handling system, and a Wärtsilä regasification module.

Sanjay Verma, Director, Business Development, South East Asia, Wärtsilä Marine Solutions, said: “This is a new and innovative fleet concept that is designed to create better efficiencies for companies involved in any part of the natural gas supply chain. By combining CHI's know-how in this field with Wärtsilä' s vast technological competences, we have together taken yet another step forward in creating an optimal LNG supply chain.”

Zhao Zhijian General Manager of CHI technical R&D center, added: “We have worked together with Wärtsilä for many years in various marine and offshore projects. Wärtsilä has the technical leadership and a broad portfolio of products and solutions in LNG systems for marine applications, and is a partner that we enjoy working with. This natural gas operating fleet concept is a new and exciting development, which should bring extensive customer benefits. CHI will continue to focus on LNG related business, and extend its market influence, research and development for LNG projects."

Wei Ying, Principal Specialist & General Manager, Shanghai Technical Support Office, Lloyd's Register Marine & Offshore, commented: “LR has completed a preliminary hazard identification (HAZID) study for this innovative design. This study covered the fuel gas supply system, the transfer of LNG between the vessels, as well as the mooring arrangement of the fleet, and as a result the Approval in Principle certificate has been issued.”

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