Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Traders and Container and Bulk Ocean Shipping Lines Continue Expansion of LNG Projects

Interest in the Fuel Grows Steadily
Shipping News Feature

JAPAN – INDIA – WORLDWIDE – As predicted the business of producing, storing, shipping and using Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) continues its slow growth with new, and potentially profitable opportunities for many in the logistics sector. As we have pointed out before many of the ocean carriers traditionally associated with container and bulk shipping are taking an interest in the spread of a fuel which many see as the future.

Recently German group RWE Supply and Trading, which claims to be Europe’s largest energy trading group, opened an office in Mumbai with the sole purpose of expanding its influence in the subcontinent and adding LNG to its traditional portfolio of bulk products principally coal and fertiliser.

In the past week Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) announced the signing of a Heads of Agreement and twenty year charter contract to jointly develop and own another new LNG carrier with the Tokyo LNG Tanker Co whilst simultaneously signing a contract with the Japan Marine United Corporation to build the new vessel.

This means that MOL is directly involved in the operation of nine of the twelve carriers owned and managed by Tokyo LNG Tanker, directly managing six of the vessels. With the new ship due in 2017 MOL will once again manage operations for the transport of LNG mainly from the Cove Point LNG Project in the United States to various Tokyo Gas facilities.

The new 300 metre long LNG carrier will have a cargo capacity of 165,000m3 and feature the self-supporting prismatic shape IMO Type B (SPB) cargo tank, which was developed by IHI Corporation and Japan Marine United. The SPB tank is a cargo containment system in which most of the cargo tank is covered by the hull. This environmental-friendly tank reduces water resistance, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.

Photo: An artist’s impression of the, as yet unnamed, vessel.