Ethane and LPG carriers get the supersize treatment at Gastech

Ethane and LPG carriers are getting the supersize treatment at Gastech, the world’s largest gas exhibition, taking place this week in Houston.

Locally headquartered class society ABS has granted approval in principle (AIP) to South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for its 165,000 cu m jumbo ethane/ethylene carrier design, 68% larger than the current largest designs available.

Under this new design, the IMO Type B cargo tanks would be constructed out of high manganese austenitic steel (Hi-MN Steel), which DSME says is more cost competitive than Ni alloy steel as well as providing increased reliability and a more robust containment.

“Based on DSME’s advanced technology, which is performing strongly in the LNGC market, it will be able to lead the global gas market not only in membrane but also in Type B tanks by developing this new design for ultra-large ethane/ethylene carriers, applying high-manganese steel, a newly rising cryogenic material,” said Odin Kwon, chief technology officer of DSME.

Currently the largest ethane carriers in the market have a capacity of 98,000 cu m, with China’s Zhejiang Satellite Petrochemical ordering six of these vessel types, split two ways between at DSME’s local rivals Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), for delivery from the final quarter of next year.

Elsewhere, at the giant gas show taking place in Texas this week, UK class society Lloyd’s Register has awarded China’s Jiangnan Shipyard AIP for its record-breaking 91,000 cu m very large gas carrier (VLGC) design which boasts a brand new hull configuration. The design, named Panda 91T, includes an LPG dual-fuelled main engine, as well as an optional air lubrication system.

Prior to the Panda 91T, the largest VLGC designs had been two 90,000 cu m newbuilds at Hyundai Samho for delivery to Trafigura in 2021.

Not to be left out, LNG – the original gas giants fired by Qatari demand – are set to get even larger with Chinese yards unveiling record-breaking 270,000 cu m designs earlier this year, some 4,000 cu m larger than the existing largest LNG carriers afloat.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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