SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 — Japan's Astomos Energy Corporation has ordered a third 83,000 cu.m very large liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carrier from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
Identical to two ships Astomos already has on order at MHI's Nagasaki Shipyard & Machinery Works, it has specifications suited to passage through the newly expanded Panama Canal. Delivery is scheduled for the second half of 2016.
The ship will be 230.0 m in length overall, 36.6 m in width and have a draft of 11.1 m.
Astomos Energy was formed in 2006 by the merger of the Idemitsu Gas and Life Co., Ltd. and Mitsubishi Liquified Gas Co., Ltd. It presently operates a fleet of 21 large-scale LPG carriers. All six vessels owned by the company and 10 of the company's 15 time-chartered vessels were built by MHI at the Nagasaki Shipyard.
Today, Astomos Energy is pursuing a medium-term business plan to expand its LPG transport structure, targeting an increase in gross LPG handling volume from the current 10 million tons per year to more than 12 mtpy in 2015.
MHI notes that "with the emergence of the 'shale gas revolution' in the United States, demand for LPG produced in North America is projected to increase in markets worldwide, including East Asia. In tandem with this expansionary trend, coupled with the enlargement of the Panama Canal, newly constructed ships must offer increased carrying capacities and be able to transport over longer distances. They must also perform to tightening environmental restrictions imposed on such ship navigations. The LPG carrier ordered from MHI by Astomos Energy will satisfy these various requirements and simultaneously meet the needs of the company's plan to build the world's most advanced LPG carrier fleet."