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Advanced LNGC data analytics

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LNGCs require constant monitoring and proactive maintenance to ensure safe and reliable operation. 

Digitalisation provides the means to accomplish this, and comprehensive data-processing services can extract actionable insights from monitoring data, DNV GL said in a report.

Among the proposed solutions for emissions control is the large-scale production of hydrogen. Long-term forecasts see hydrogen being produced using electrolysis powered by wind and photovoltaic energy, and its conversion to methane (CH4), which could be distributed using existing natural gas infrastructure.

For the time being, hydrogen as an emerging cleaner energy source will primarily result from methane steam reformation of natural gas, the class society said.

All LNGCs, FSRUs and FLNGs carry on board compressors, expanders, pumps, metering and control devices, etc. Monitoring and maintenance play a key role in keeping this infrastructure functional and preventing accidents.

DNV GL can draw on decades of experience in gas-related engineering and vetting as well as maritime operations, claimed Chris Dagnall, General Manager of DNV GL’s Rotating Machinery Group. “We have been active in land-based pipeline network monitoring and data acquisition, working closely with customers to provide the insights they need to run their systems smoothly.

“We know how important it is for a successful condition-monitoring programme to collect and analyse data rapidly so action can be taken promptly. Digitalisation allows us to provide automated data analytics solutions covering a wide range of performance-monitoring and maintenance-related needs of asset operators, including real-time reporting,” he said.

Constant contact

Through satellite and long-distance wireless connections today’s vessels are in constant contact with the Internet and their operators’ computer networks, sending and receiving data that ensure smooth operation. Furthermore, on new ships, critical equipment is fitted with numerous sensing devices, which feed a constant stream of operational data to the ship’s central computer system and data centres on land.

All of this data harbours potential for improved decision-making, performance enhancements and condition-based maintenance. Aggregating, correlating and evaluating this data while keeping it safe is a challenging task, however.

“DNV GL has been providing these equipment data monitoring, analytics and reporting services to many customers, especially where the equipment being monitored is highly safety-relevant, such as on LNG carriers and FSRUs,” explained Dagnall. “We can install data acquisition hardware on a vessel and receive a full set of performance data sampled at regular time intervals, such as every 10 seconds, in an automated daily transmission to our Veracity platform.

“All operational data is then analysed using algorithms developed by DNV GL, correlated with vibration data, and assessed to extract key performance indicators and detect any deviations from the predicted performance,” he explained. 


Large import terminal planned for Yantai

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China’s Yantai LNG Group is to operate an LNG import terminal by 2022.

According to newswire reports, the company expects Chinese government approval in the next few weeks.

Yantai is located in Shandong province, which is an industrial and petrochemical hub in eastern China. It has 25% of China’s steel capacity and is a big coal-consuming region, but does not have a gas-fired power plant.

Yantai LNG is reportedly building the terminal in two phases – the first phase with a capacity of 5 mill tonnes per year and the second of 6.5 mill tonnes per year capacity. Land reclamation for the project has already started, a source told Reuters.

Phase 1 will cost $1.1 bill and comprise an LNG-dedicated port area, a berth that can receive up to Q-Max LNGCs, a 50,000 cu m transhipment berth, and five 200,000 cu m storage tanks, another source said.

Phase 2, to be completed by 2025, will have two Q-Max capacity LNGC berths and five more 200,000 cu m storage tanks, expanding Yantai LNG’s receiving capacity to 11.5 mill tonnes per year.

Project holders are in talks with several suppliers to import LNG through long-term contracts, Eric Wang, executive director at major shareholder Poly-GCL Pan Asia International Energy told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference.

The partners may also consider investing in liquefaction projects to source gas for the terminal, Wang said, adding that his company has scheduled a visit to Houston later this month or in early November to meet with US producers. 


AIE requests more LNG cargoes at Port Kembla

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Australian Industrial Energy (AIE) has lodged a ‘Modification’ to its existing Development Consent for its Port Kembla Gas Terminal to meet higher demand for natural gas during peak periods.

As first flagged to the New South Wales Government in August, AIE’s customers claimed that their gas demands during peak season (typically between April and September) exceed the volume approved in the current Consent granted by the NSW Department of Planning.

The request seeks to increase the number of annual LNG cargoes received at the terminal from 26 shipments of standard-sized vessels (170,000 cu m) up to 46 shipments of variable sized vessels to reflect flexibility of demand.

This increase of up to 20 shipments represents around 2% increase in the number of vessels that visit Port Kembla each year.

The project’s FSRU, which will remain moored at Port Kembla’s Berth 101 to receive, store and send out natural gas, will not need to be modified, as it has the capacity to handle the extra throughput, AIE said.

AIE will be required to undertake additional environmental and hazard studies, which will then be assessed by NSW Government agencies and whilst this is expected to extend the completion timeline, the request for additional volume reinforces the project’s critical importance, as a solution to the nation’s near-term gas supply challenges. 


FERC to look at Commonwealth project

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The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review for Commonwealth LNG’s proposed export plant.

This project encompasses the construction of an LNG plant, including six gas liquefaction trains and their facilities. Each train will have a liquefaction design capacity of around 1.4 mill tonnes per annum for a total nominal liquefaction capacity of 8.4 mill tonnes.

Located on the west side of the Calcasieu Ship Channel, near the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana, it will include six LNG storage tanks each with a capacity of 40,000 cu m, one marine loading berth capable of loading LNGCs of up to 216,000 cu m capacity, and a 3.04-mile long pipeline that will connect the LNG facility with existing intrastate and interstate pipelines to supply the gas.

Environmental review schedule

• Issuance of the draft EIS in May, 2020.

• Issuance of Notice of Availability of the final EIS 2nd October, 2020.

• 90-day Federal Authorization Decision Deadline 31st December, 2020.

“We are very pleased to receive FERC’s Issuance of Notice of Schedule for Environmental Review. It confirms that our project remains on schedule to take FID in 1Q21 and start commercial operations in 1Q24,” said Paul Varello, Commonwealth LNG’s President and CEO. 


Chinese/US LNGC sanction issues resolved

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Teekay Corp and Teekay LNG Partners have confirmed that COSCO Shipping Energy Transportation has completed an ownership restructuring on arms-length terms, due to US sanctions. 

As a result, Teekay LNG’s joint venture partner, China LNG Shipping (Holdings), is no longer being classed as a ‘Blocked Person’ under US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) rules.

Accordingly, Teekay LNG’s 50/50 joint venture with China LNG, which owns four Arc7s plus two Arc7 newbuildings, is also no longer classified as a ‘Blocked Person’ under OFAC rules.

The four operational Arc7s are continuing to operate under their long-term contracts transporting gas from the Yamal LNG project and the remaining two newbuildings are expected to be delivered in the fourth quarter of this year, Teekay said.

Yamal LNG operator Novatek commented that it had also received notification from TC LNG Shipping (TC LNG), the joint-venture owning the Arc7s, that the company was no longer considered a ‘Blocked Person’ under the US OFAC rules.

TC LNG, a joint-venture between Teekay LNG and China LNG Shipping (Holdings), owns seven Arc7s that are continuing to serve the Yamal LNG project, Novatek said.

Arc7 deliveries

Meanwhile, the latest Arc7 has entered into service recently.

Another was believed to be waiting outside Yamal LNG’s plant, according to Refinitiv shipping data.

‘Nikolay Urvantsev’ has delivered her first cargo from Novatek-operated Yamal LNG plant, to France, while ‘Georgiy Ushakov’ was reported to be stationary just outside the entrance of the Gulf of Ob last week.

‘Georgiy Ushakov’ is one of six Icebreaking LNGCs that is owned by the 50-50 joint venture involving Teekay LNG and China LNG Shipping, a unit of COSCO Dalian (see above).

The seventh and last of the Arc7s to be built by Daewoo, ‘Yakov Gakkel’, was still thought to be on trials. She is also owned by the Teekay/China LNG Shipping venture. 


Novatek stake sale boost

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Oct 30 (LNGJ) – Russian natural gas company Novatek reported a 7.9 percent rise in nine-month revenues of 641.8 billion rubles ($10.5Bln) and a 14 percent jump in gross earnings to 338.3Bln rubles ($5.30Bln) compared with the 2018 period. “This was largely due to an increase in LNG sales volumes and our domestic average natural gas sales price, which was offset by a decrease in hydrocarbons sales prices on international markets,” said Novatek.

   Profit attributable to shareholders in the third quarter rose eight-fold to 370.0Bln rubles ($5.79Bln) from 45.90Bln rubles ($775 million) and in the nine months period was up seven-fold to 820.9Bln rubles ($12.85Bln). “Our profit was significantly impacted by the recognition of a net gain on disposal of a 10 percent and a 30 percent participation interests in the Arctic LNG 2 project in March and July 2019, respectively. Taken together these amounted to 675.0Bln rubles ($10.56Bln),” said Novatek.

   Excluding the effect from the disposals of stakes in subsidiaries and joint ventures, as well as foreign exchange differences, Novatek’s normalized profit in the third quarter totaled 48.5 billion rubles ($759M) and 178.6Bln rubles ($2.7Bln) in the nine-month period.


MODEC LNG contract

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Oct 30 (LNGJ) – MODEC Inc. of Japan said it signed a contract with ConocoPhillips Australia to supply a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel for the Barossa field, offshore northwest Australia that will supply the Darwin LNG plant. The Barossa FPSO is intended to produce gas and condensate from subsea wells and after treatment, supply Darwin via a gas pipeline.

   The Barossa FPSO is MODEC’s largest sizes Gas FPSO to date, which will be able to export over 600 million standard cubic feet of gas per day as well as store up to 650,000 barrels of condensate for export. “It has been designed to withstand a 100-year cyclone event at a water depth of 260 metres and located some 300 kilometers northwest of Darwin,” said the company. The FPSO hull will be constructed in China at Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. (DSIC) in the northeast Liaoning Province.


Something is happening at Honningsvåg

Previous reports suggested future ship-to-ship transfers close to Murmansk, but Yamal LNG seems still in the process of sorting winter STS location

The ice-free, deep-water port Honningsvåg on Magerøya Island in Norway close to the Russian border became witness to 123 ship-to-ship (STS) LNG transfers amounting to c. 8.2mmt between November 2018 and June 2019. Today, the first Yamal vessel since July has anchored at one of Honningsvåg’s STS sites.

Temporary provisions forced by necessity

Russia’s second largest gas exporter – Novatek – had announced in April 2019 that STS operations in Norwegian waters were about to end; they were always intended as a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution were found.

New Russian law should have alleviated shipping impasse

These STS LNG transfers became necessary partly because Russian law did not allow foreign-owned vessels to operate in certain Russian coastal regions until recently. LNG carriers (LNGCs) are regularly built and operated by joint ventures with complex international ownership and operational structures, including diverse flag states.

Yamal’s specialised Arc-7 fleet effective but more costly to run

At the same time, Novatek’s specialised ice-class ‘Arc-7’ LNGCs are not optimised for conventional LNG trade. They were built to withstand pack ice dense and strong enough to severely damage ordinary hulls along the so-called Northern Sea Route, a summer shipping lane into North Asia traversing the Arctic Circle. The reinforced, icebreaker-like bows of Arc-7 LNGCs, however, require more energy to make speed, increasing costs on a per-unit basis. Transferring cargo onto more nimble vessels part way thus constitutes an economic imperative for Russian arctic LNG supply into Europe and the Atlantic Basin

Side-stepping sanctions

Recent US (now resolved) sanctions on COSCO Shipping Tanker (Dalian) Co. – originally one of the Arc-7 joint venture partners – could have exacerbated the situation by effectively preventing part of Yamal’s fleet from operating. Nevertheless, the affected vessels neatly sidestepped the issue whilst their ownership structures were speedily adjusted by either being on ballast voyages or making deliveries to China, our LNG Market Tracker shows. 

Final winter STS site yet to be confirmed

Although Yamal can thus look back on two eventful quarters, questions remain where future STS operations are going to take place. Whilst the waters around Kildin Island close to Murmansk have previously been touted as Honningsvåg’s successor due to relatively little pack ice in winter, it remains unclear whether Novatek has managed to conclude an agreement with Russian naval authorities operating a submarine base in the area. Regardless, the company’s vision to build a permanent STS base on the Kola Peninsula is unlikely to be completed before 2022.

As such, our LNG Market Tracker shows that the newbuild Georgiy Ushakov – the latest Arc-7 addition to the Yamal fleet – has anchored at Honningsvåg on 28 October. Although the vessel has not yet had its cooldown cargo, the anchoring at one of Honningsvåg’s previous STS zones is noteworthy. 

Original STS contract underperformed

The original contract between Novatek and Tschudi Group, the Norwegian STS specialist who handled the 123 LNG transfers at Honningsvåg until June this year, stipulated 158 such operations. There may thus still be headroom for at least 35 further transfers provided the original Norwegian STS license can be renewed. 


Dominican Republic LNG contract oversight is awarded to Tractebel

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LNG Journal editor

AES Corp., the US power company and Caribbean LNG import terminal owner, has named Belgian engineering firm Tractebel as owner’s engineer for the expansion of the existing LNG terminal near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

The Santo Domingo terminal has allowed the Dominican Republic to diversify its energy mix and reduce dependency on oil imports as well as offering a cleaner source of power generation.

Engie unit

Tractebel, a subsidiary of French utility and energy company Engie, also helped coordinate the development for AES of the Costa Norte LNG terminal near the entrance to the Panama Canal that started operations in Panama in 2017.

Tractebel said the Dominican Republic project consisted of constructing an additional LNG storage tank, more vaporization capacity and building two truck-loading bays.

“AES’s approach is to drive multiple competitive front-end engineering and design aimed at selecting the most suitable one. Based on these studies, each engineering, procurement and construction bidder will propose its EPC price,” explained Tractebel.

Tractebel said its role was to support the AES Andres subsidiary during the development phase and until the EPC contractor is selected.

The Panama and Dominican Republic terminals are jointly creating an LNG hub in the region for small-scale distribution.

The AES Andres facility at Punta Caucedo in the Dominican Republic has been in operation since 2003, making it the region’s longest-standing LNG importing nation.

Capacity at the AES Andres terminal is less than 2 million tonnes per annum, while the Costa Norte facility in Panama has around 1.5 MTPA of capacity.

“This new contract, awarded on the basis of successful collaboration Tractebel and AES had on their previous LNG project in Panama, demonstrates once more the confidence AES has in Tractebel, and its trust in Tractebel expertise,” said Zech Christian, Tractebel senior project manager.

“The success of this phase is particularly important for Tractebel, as we aim to be awarded the next phase, owner’s engineering during EPC execution,” he added.


Georgia firm signs Vietnam deal as third Asia cooperation accord

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Chart Industries and Energy Capital Vietnam, a southeast Asian focused asset management firm, have signed an accord to promote the distribution of liquefied natural gas within Vietnam with Chart as the supplier of downstream and other equipment as well as its expertise. 

This is the third such agreement Chart has signed in 2019 with Asian energy industry partners to promote the use of LNG and with plans to supply the technology.

Chart signed a memorandum of understanding with ECV, whose main offices are in Dallas, Texas, and Hoh Chi Minh City, for Chart to be a future supplier of downstream equipment for LNG terminals.

ECV has close relations with the Office of the Vietnamese Prime Minister and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the key authoritative body that oversees the energy sector.

The country’s total LNG demand is expected to reach 10 million tonnes per annum by 2030 with several terminals planned and with the US being one of the supplier.

Chart and ECV said that they also supported ECV’s collaboration with Korea Gas Corp., the owner of import terminals in South Korea, the development of a privately-funded LNG regasification terminal, storage, gas supply system and 3,200 MW gas-fired power project near Mui Ke Ga in Binh Thuan Province on the southeast coast of Vietnam.

“As the global LNG infrastructure build-out continues in over 70 countries, we are pleased to partner with ECV and other like-minded companies to accelerate a cleaner future in Vietnam,” said Jill Evanko, Chief Executive of Chart.

The latest agreement is similar to one Chart signed in March 2019 with Indian Oil Corp, owner of the first import terminal to start up on the Indian East Coast. The accord was signed in Washington DC by executives of both companies.