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Paving the path for the Caribbean

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LNG Industry,

Most of the islands in the Caribbean run their power generation on diesel oil or highly polluting fuel oil. Despite the fact that changing fuel has been on the agenda for a long time, so far, there has been limited development. Now, two major hurdles can be overcome: a lack of infrastructure and sourcing the LNG.

The infrastructure challenge

One major task facing the Caribbean market is a lack of infrastructure to receive, store and regasify LNG. The needs of small markets cannot be satisfied with scaled down solutions of standard designs.

Challenges on the marine side include the following:

  • The traditional engineering and design of a 10 000 m3 unloading jetty is close to that of a 160 000 m3 jetty (with a similar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) cost).
  • The tourist industry has priority to most of the accessible marine areas.
  • Zoning and permits can be cumbersome.
  • Existing small LNG carriers are scaled down versions of the larger ones. Their operation and maintenance costs are proportionally higher than their larger counterparts. This makes small scale LNG delivery more expensive.
  • Challenges on the storage side include the following:
  • Finding a 40 000 m2 (or more) seaside property to build a small LNG storage tank can be extremely difficult and cost-prohibitive on a tourist island.
  • The operation cost and personnel demand of a small atmospheric tank and its boil-off gas (BOG) management system can be daunting.
  • Less complex, vacuum insulated tanks cost more per cubic metre and require a larger footprint than atmospheric tanks.
  • Building an LNG receiving terminal is a long-term decision with a relatively high sunken cost.
  • Challenges on the regasification side include the following:
  • Large open-rack vaporisers are expensive to own and operate. They have a high seawater demand and require expensive infrastructure for water treatment facilities.
  • More economical ambient air vaporisers have a high profile, which can be visually intrusive in a tourist area.

Enabling the switch

Although nothing can be done about the current price of LNG, infrastructure costs can be reduced. This will make switching to LNG easier for the Caribbean energy industry.

Together with the Canadian design office, Naviform, Kanfer Shipping has developed an Articulated Tug Barge (ATB) solution for distribution, floating storage and regasification of LNG. This takes advantage of lower construction and operation costs than ordinary vessels, without compromising seaworthiness and design safety.

Combining the barges with one tugboat, the unit behaves like a standard vessel at sea. When the ATB reaches land, the full barge will be connected and the empty barge taken away for filling. This way, the entire terminal will be moved from shore to sea. With the real estate prices skyrocketing in densely populated coastal areas, a shore-based terminal is increasingly complicated to establish and takes far more time to build. A floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) is built and tested at a shipyard.

The ATB is a well-known solution in the Americas. The US Jones Act has created a market for ATBs, mainly to keep the operational costs down. However, the solution is excellent for combining logistics and terminal infrastructure.

Kanfer Shipping’s ATB concept should be considered as an ocean-going ship with a detachable engine room and accommodation block, rather than a conventional ATB tug in a notch of a box shaped barge. This new concept offers high fuel efficiency, and not just because of its hull form....

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of LNG Industry. To read the full version of this article, sign in or register for a free trial subscription.

Written by Stig Anders Hagen, Kanfer Shipping, Norway. Edited by

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