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Opportunities in LNG shipping

LNG Industry,

Gastech 2014 delegates were told of huge growth opportunities in LNG shipping with the development of new technologies and improved safety measures.

“Today’s growth is completely unprecedented. We have more ships and terminals than ever before, and we currently have 400 vessels with over 100 more on order. 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,” explained Andrew Clifton, General Manager for the Society for International Gas Tanker and Terminal Operators.

LNG risk assessment

Tamunoiyala Koko, Team Leader – Halifax for Lloyd’s Register, presented his risk assessment for LNG carrier ships transiting through the Panama Canal after the expansion project, which will accommodate most of the world’s LNG fleet, and is expected to be completed in July 2015.

The HAZID project risk assessment takes into account all credible scenarios and accidental evidence including human error, mechanical failures, communications errors and extreme weather, Koko explained. These incidents can result in possible LNG carrier ship grounding, and collision with other passing ships, including large vessels.

Panama Canal expansion

The study was carried out from 28th February to 2nd March 2012. It examined ships with a maximum capacity of 170 000 m3, with an estimated 100 LNG vessels transiting through the Panama Canal each year once the expansion is completed.

“All of the scenarios considered had at most a medium risk,” Koko 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.

Cargo containment system

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.

MEGI propulsion

Choi DongKyu, Deputy Director and Head of the Energy System R&D Team at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), discussed MEGI propulsion for LNG carriers, promoting it as an appealing way to achieve high fuel efficiency.

The system minimises the conversion loss, as 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 boil off gas must be left in the tank because of the low fuel consumption of MEGI consumption.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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