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Tanker and bulker owners turn to LNG

Fri 28 Apr 2017 by Mike Corkhill

Tanker and bulker owners turn to LNG
Bergen Tankers is one of the few shipowners to convert a ship to run on LNG

In the last of our four sector-specific reports on LNG-fuelled tonnage, Mike Corkhill reports on marked growth in interest in cleaner-burning fuel from owners of tankers and bulkers.

In terms of LNG-fuelled newbuilding completions and orders over the past 12 months, the most dynamic segment has been tankers and bulk carriers. Following the delivery of 13 ships, there are now 19 tankers and bulkers in service. Contracts for 17 new vessels augmented this activity and boosted the tanker and bulker orderbook to 28 ships as of 20 March 2017.

According to LNG World Shipping’s latest review of the global fleet of LNG-fuelled seagoing vessels, the past year's notable shipyard handovers include a four-ship series of 15,000 dwt chemical/product tankers, built by Avic Dingheng for Terntank's Baltic Sea service and four 35,000m3 ethane carriers.

The latter complement comprises three vessels for Navigas and one for Ocean Yield and operation in the Gaschem pool.

The Terntank vessels and the ethane carriers are also noteworthy for their low-speed dual-fuel propulsion systems. The Terntank quartet are the first ships to be propelled by low-pressure two-stroke dual-fuel engines, in this case supplied by Winterthur G&D, while high-pressure MAN gas-injection engines were specified for the ethane ships.

The ethane carriers may never have occasion to burn LNG. When dual-fuel diesel engines were introduced as a viable propulsion system option a decade ago, the initial focus was on LNG carrier applications to enable the units to run on cargo boil-off gas (BOG).

However, manufacturers soon adapted their engines with a few minor adjustments to enable them to run on other hydrocarbon gases, including ethane. The new generation gas tankers being built to carry US ethane exports, including the four ships mentioned above, are all burning cargo BOG in their engines.

Thanks to the shale gas revolution, US ethane is a plentiful, low-cost product while the ability to use cargo BOG as propulsion system fuel simplifies ship operations. It also gets around the problem of securing a supply of LNG at a time when the development of the necessary bunkering infrastructure is in its infancy.      

Among the recent orders for tankers and bulkers is a major play by the Baltic Sea operator Gothia Tanker Alliance. Between them, Furetank, Älvtank and Thun Tankers, the three members of the Alliance, have ordered 10 chemical/product tankers, comprising six of 16,300 dwt and four of 8,000 dwt.

A Sovcomflot order for four Aframax tankers of 114,000 dwt at Hyundai Mipo also merits a mention. Announced in March 2017, the contract highlights the fact that gas-burning engines are now gaining favour as a propulsion system for larger ships, including those whose sphere of operations is not limited to a dedicated route.

Although the LNG bunker tank capacity of the Sovcomflot tanker quartet is yet to be announced, each would require about 5,500m3 of space to provide the vessel with the same amount of energy contained in the heavy fuel oil tankage typically specified for an Aframax tanker.


LNG-fuelled tankers and bulkers, in service and on order, March 2017

  STATUS SHIP NAME SHIP TYPE DELIVERY DATE OWNER SHIPBUILDER ENGINE PROPULSION TYPE CLASS SOCIETY
1 In service Bit Viking* Product tanker 2011 Tarbit Oresundsvarvet Wärtsilä DF DNV GL
2   Coral Star Ethylene carrier 2014 Anthony Veder Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF BV
3   Coral Sticho Ethylene carrier 2014 Anthony Veder Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF BV
4   Bergen Viking* Product tanker 2015 Bergen Tankers Noryards Rolls-Royce Gas DNV GL
5   Sefarina LPG carrier 2015 Chemgas Shipping Hoogezand Wärtsilä DF BV
6   Greenland Cement carrier 2015 JT Cement Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF LR
7   Ireland Cement carrier 2016 JT Cement Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF LR
8   Fure West* Product tanker 2016 Furetank Oresundsvarvet MaK DF BV
9   Sundowner LPG carrier 2016 Chemgas Shipping Hoogezand Wärtsilä DF BV
10   Jayanti Baruna CNG carrier 2016 CIMC Enric SZJ Gas Jiangsu Hantong Wärtsilä DF ABS/BKI
11   Ternsund Chemical/product tanker 2016 Terntank Avic Dingheng Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
12   Ternfjord Chemical/product tanker 2016 Terntank Avic Dingheng Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
13   Tern Sea Chemical/product tanker 2016 Terntank Avic Dingheng Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
14   Tern Ocean Chemical/product tanker 2017 Terntank Avic Dingheng Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
15   Gaschem Beluga Ethane carrier 2016 Ocean Yield Sinopacific MAN HPLSDF DNV GL
16   Navigator Aurora Ethane carrier 2016 Navigator Gas Jiangnan MAN HPLSDF ABS
17   Navigator Eclipse Ethane carrier 2016 Navigator Gas Jiangnan MAN HPLSDF ABS
18   Navigator Nova Ethane carrier 2017 Navigator Gas Jiangnan MAN HPLSDF ABS
19   Damia Desgagnes Bitumen tanker 2016 Groupe Desgagnés Besiktas Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
                   
1 On order Mia Desgagnes Chemical/product tanker 2017 Groupe Desgagnés Besiktas Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
2   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2017 Groupe Desgagnés Besiktas Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
3   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2017 Groupe Desgagnés Besiktas Winterthur G&D LPLSDF BV
4   Gaschem Orca Ethane carrier 2017 Ocean Yield Sinopacific MAN HPLSDF DNV GL
5   Navigator Prominence Ethane carrier 2017 Navigator Gas Jiangnan MAN HPLSDF ABS
6   unnamed Bulk carrier 2017 Ilshin Shipping Hyundai Mipo MAN HPLSDF LR/KR
7   unnamed Oil bunker vessel 2018 Harley Marine consortium Huangpu Wenchong unnamed unnamed unnamed
8   unnamed Oil bunker vessel 2018 Harley Marine consortium Huangpu Wenchong unnamed unnamed unnamed
9   unnamed Bulk carrier 2018 ESL Shipping Jingling Shipyard unnamed DF DNV GL
10   unnamed Bulk carrier 2018 ESL Shipping Jingling Shipyard unnamed DF DNV GL
11   unnamed Ethane carrier 2018 Evergas JHW Engineering unnamed unnamed unnamed
12   unnamed Ethane carrier 2018 Evergas JHW Engineering unnamed unnamed unnamed
13   unnamed Ethane carrier 2018 Evergas JHW Engineering unnamed unnamed unnamed
14   unnamed Ethane carrier 2018 Evergas JHW Engineering unnamed unnamed unnamed
15   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2018 Furetank Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
16   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2018 Furetank Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
17   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2019 Älvtank Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
18   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2019 Thun Tankers Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
19   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2018 Furetank Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
20   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2019 Älvtank Avic Dingheng Wärtsilä DF unnamed
21   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2018 Thun Tankers Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF unnamed
22   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2019 Thun Tankers Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF unnamed
23   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2019 Thun Tankers Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF unnamed
24   unnamed Chemical/product tanker 2020 Thun Tankers Ferus Smit Wärtsilä DF unnamed
25   unnamed Aframax tanker 2018 Sovcomflot Hyundai Samho unnamed unnamed unnamed
26   unnamed Aframax tanker 2018 Sovcomflot Hyundai Samho unnamed unnamed unnamed
27   unnamed Aframax tanker 2019 Sovcomflot Hyundai Samho unnamed unnamed unnamed
28   unnamed Aframax tanker 2019 Sovcomflot Hyundai Samho unnamed unnamed unnamed

Source: LNG World Shipping, March 2017

* conversion project

DF: medium-speed dual-fuel

HPLSDF: high-pressure, low-speed dual-fuel

LPLSDF: low-pressure, low-speed dua-fuel

 

 

 

 

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