A lot of focus at this week’s Gastech event was on ethane and Very Large Ethane Carriers. As we report elsewhere, Houston headquartered American Ethane Company is planning to build a fleet of 150,000 cu.m VLECs. Even larger ships are in the works. Among the parade of presentations of certificates staged at Gastech, was one that saw ABS give Approval in Principle (AIP) to Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering Co. Ltd. (DSME) for a 165,000 cu.m Jumbo Ethane/Ethylene Carrier design.
But what if the ethane market turns soft? Yet another Gastech event saw classification society ABS and gas containment system specialist GTT report progress on delivering “LNG Cargo Ready” ethane carriers.
A new ABS LNG Cargo Ready notation confirms that an ethane carrier is capable of future modification to trade LNG cargoes. ABS is the first classification society to develop requirements and notations for ethane carriers that assist in assessing the level of LNG cargo readiness. The notation identifies potential barriers and assesses LNG capability of equipment and systems installed on the Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLEC).
DERISKING VLEC INVESTMENTS
“With the expected flurry of new orders for VLECs, the industry is looking for ways to de-risk project investments,” said Aditya Aggarwal, ABS Director, Global Gas Development. “One of the most viable options is to ensure newer VLECs can be used for transportation of LNG in the future. The ship owners and investors require the necessary information in evaluating the capital risk to assess the need for additional future investments needed to ‘upgrade’ the asset to carry LNG instead of ethane.”
ABS Vice President for Global Gas Solutions, Patrick Janssens said: “Our work to make the next generation of ethane carriers more flexible and better able to adapt to developments in the international markets, underscores our focus on developing solutions that respond to the challenges faced by owners, charterers and operators while ushering in new concepts and fostering the latest technologies.”
“We are continuously developing solutions for the industry in order to provide more flexibility to ship-owners and charterers, while remaining competitive without making any compromise on safety,” said Philippe Berterottière, Chairman and CEO of GTT. “We are glad to take this initiative with ABS by offering LNG cargo as an option for ethane shippers and notably for one of our clients that recently ordered six second generation VLECs.”
“The LNG readiness for VLEC is a promising way to overcome financial hurdles that stakeholders are facing on the nascent Ethane shipping, and it is achievable at marginal cost,” said Adnan Ezzarhouni, General Manager of GTT China.