Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry Co and Wärtsilä have developed a concept for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) operating fleet comprising barges and a pusher tug. Together they have gained approval in principle certification from Lloyd’s Register (LR).
The concept fleet includes a pusher tug that could be LNG-fuelled, an LNG storage barge, an LNG regasification barge, and a floating liquefaction natural gas barge. The pusher tug can be used to transport the three barges once they are all built.
The development project was conducted under the terms of a memorandum of understanding that was signed in June 2016 between the three companies. They expect the LNG fleet would be competitive in capital and operating expenditure terms. A key element of this is using the pusher tug to ensure the three barges are mobile and transportable.
The concept fleet can be used for LNG transportation in shallow waters, using the tug to push an LNG barge. Or as a mobile platform for production of LNG from offshore or remote natural gas resources. The fleet vessels could include Wärtsilä dual-fuel engines and steerable thrusters, gas storage and supply systems, liquefaction and regasification modules and an LNG cargo handling system.
The design and engineering included development of the hinge joint, mooring arrangement, plus ship-type and seakeeping analysis. Wärtsilä Marine Solutions director of business development in South East Asia Sanjay Verma said the joint venture is ready to take the concept another step forward in creating an optimal LNG supply chain. He added: “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.”
Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry Co general manager for technical research and development, Zhao Zhijian said: “This natural gas operating fleet concept is a new and exciting development, which should bring extensive customer benefits. We will continue to focus on LNG-related business, and extend its market influence, research and development for LNG projects.”
LR general manager for the Shanghai technical support office Wei Ying said the class society completed a preliminary hazard identification study for this innovative design concept. He added: “This study covered the fuel gas supply system, the transfer of LNG between the vessels, as well as the mooring arrangement of the fleet. As a result, the approval in principle certificate has been issued.”