FueLNG has ordered a US$37.5M, 7,500 m3 gas carrier that will be Singapore’s and southeast Asia’s first LNG bunker vessel (LNGBV). The ship will be built at the Keppel Singmarine yard at Nantong in China and, upon completion in Q3 2020, will utilise the Singapore LNG terminal as its base of operations and source of cargo.
FueLNG announced the newbuilding contract the day after the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed it will provide both FueLNG and Pavilion Gas with funding to construct LNG bunkering vessels. Each company has been awarded US$2.25M to put toward constructing an LNGBV as part of a drive to promote ship-to-ship (STS) LNG bunkering in Singapore.
FueLNG is a joint venture between Keppel Offshore & Marine (Keppel O&M) and Shell Eastern Petroleum. The new bunker vessel will be built to the proprietary MTD 7500U LNG design developed by Keppel O&M’s ship design and development arm, Marine Technology Development.
The newbuilding will be able to carry out bunkering operations without tug assistance due to its high degree of manoeuvrability. The dual-fuel vessel’s propulsion and power management systems have been designed to ensure that fuel consumption, whether LNG or marine diesel oil, is kept to a minimum. Another notable feature is the LNGBV’s extended flat sides, a configuration which will enable the bunkering of a wide range of ships.
FueLNG’s LNGBV construction contract is the latest development in an evolving relationship with MPA, as the port authority for the world’s busiest oil bunkering location seeks to foster LNG fuelling. The link-up kicked off in 2016 when MPA issued LNG bunker supplier licenses to FueLNG and Temasek Holdings-backed Pavilion Gas.
In June 2017 FueLNG co-ordinated the inaugural LNG vessel gassing-up, cooldown and reload operation in Singapore. The procedure was carried out at Singapore LNG’s import terminal on Jurong Island and involved the 6,500m m3 Shell LNGBV Cardissa, then on its maiden voyage from its South Korean construction yard to its home port of Rotterdam.
Within a month of the Cardissa milestone, FueLNG was co-ordinating the first truck-to-ship LNG transfer operation in the port. The exercise called for transporting LNG in specialist road tankers from the Singapore LNG terminal to the Keppel O&M yard elsewhere in the port where the conversion of the 125,000 m3 LNG carrier Hilli to the floating LNG production (FLNG) vessel Hilli Episeyo on behalf of Golar LNG was in its final stages.
Between July and September 2017, a number of tankerloads were pumped over the jetty to Hilli Episeyo for use in testing the FLNG vessel’s cryogenic systems. The transfers were carried out in accordance with the Singapore Chemical Industry Council Technical Reference for LNG Bunkering (TR 56). The document was published in April 2017 to provide a framework for safe, efficient and sustainable LNG bunkering and transfer operations.