While the number of LNG carriers serviced annually by Navantia is down from its historic 2010 high, the yard is still the Atlantic Basin’s top performer, writes Selwyn Parker
With 13 LNG carriers (LNGC) down and at least another three to go, the 2018 LNGC servicing workload is anything but slow for Navantia Ship Repairs.
When the year is done and the last three LNG vessels contracted for Q4 are finished, the completed workload will represent an increase of more than 50% in gas carrier contracts compared with 2017. Last year the Spanish group undertook 10 LNG repair projects at El Ferrol and carried out one LNGC servicing at its Cadiz facility.
This year’s orderbook cements Navantia’s position as the main Atlantic Basin LNG repair centre and also its place among the top five specialists worldwide, a status it has held for over a decade.
Navantia’s two biggest LNG customers for the year to date have been BW Fleet Management and BP Shipping, each with three ships. In addition, Hyproc Shipping has sent two vessels to El Ferrol, while Shell and MOL LNG Transport have booked one vessel each.
"Since 1992, Navantia has repaired 97 LNGCs for 35 clients as part of a servicing logbook featuring well over 250 individual bookings"
The MOL vessel was the 155,000 m3, 2015-built LNG Jurojin and the Shell ship the 137,000 m3, 2004-built Gemmata, both Moss spherical tank vessels. Shell’s G-class ship also made the news earlier in the year when it lifted the first export cargo from Dominion Energy’s Cove Point terminal on the US East Coast.
Although the company does not disclose the specific work done at the yard, the repair centre is nothing if not versatile. “We cover absolutely all types of work associated with LNG repairs,” commercial manager Jose Manuel Noya told LNG World Shipping.
Central to the yard’s LNGC servicing portfolio is the general overhaul of propulsion plants, cargo containment systems and cryogenic equipment, such as pumps, valves and lines. In addition, major structural repair and modification work as well as life-extension projects and emergency repairs are occasionally carried out.
Navantia first became involved with LNGC repairs and refits in 1992. Hyproc Shipping was the yard’s original client, booking the 1977-built 129,500 m3 Larbi Ben M’hidi and the 1980-built 126,000 m3 Mourad Didouche in for scheduled drydockings.
The Algerian owner, which is the shipping arm of the Sonatrach state oil and gas company, remains one of Navantia’s most enduring clients. One of its vessels, the 1976-built, 125,000 m3 Mostefa Ben Boulaid, reported back to the Ferrol estuary no less than 13 times for servicing.
The Hyproc trio formed part of a quintet of early GTT membrane tank LNGCs built in France some 40 years ago. Larbi Ben M’hidi and Mostefa Ben Boulaid have been scrapped in recent years as part of Hyproc’s fleet rejuvenation programme. Mourad Didouche is also expected to be dispatched for recycling in the not-too-distant future.
In the years since 1992, Navantia has repaired 97 LNGCs for 35 clients as part of a servicing logbook featuring well over 250 individual bookings. The peak year for LNG repairs was 2010, with 28 vessels.
In July 2018 Navantia appointed a woman to the helm for the first time. The shipyard is now led by Susan Sarria Sopena, an engineer by training, who took over from veteran shipbuilder Esteban Garcia.
The state-owned group is in the middle of a digital transformation dubbed Navantia 4.0, intended to introduce artificial intelligence, including 3D manufacturing, into all aspects of the business. Last year, Navantia spent €100M (US$115M) on the project.