A quarter of the tankers ordered will use LNG fuel, Gibson says

First LNG-powered VLCC is built for COSCO (Dalian)

Posted Dec 13, 2021 5:09 PM by

The maritime executive

As a further sign of the increasing acceptance of LNG and dual-fuel ships in the shipping industry, tanker operators are increasingly ordering dual-fuel power plants for their newbuildings while preparing the first dual-fuel VLCC for its maiden voyage. Shipbroker Gibson calls LNG “The Shape of Things to Come” in its latest weekly tanker market report, based on order growth.

“LNG has long been the fuel of the future,” Gibson reports that his analysis shows that a quarter of new tankers use LNG for propulsion. Gibson’s Alternative Fuel Ships database includes over 530 vessels, from tugs to bulk carriers, ordered with LNG and alternative fuel power plants. They report that almost five percent of orders are specific to VLCCs after that type of COSCO Shipping Energy Transport Co.

“In total, the current LNG-powered tanker newbuildings account for 23 percent of the current total tanker order backlog,” reports Gibson. “So there still seems to be a long way to go before LNG tankers become the dominant type of ship, but as a bunker fuel it will certainly be taken seriously.”

Gibson’s review of the current tanker order book

China’s technologically advanced first dual-fuel VLCC will join several Aframax tankers that are dual-fuel tankers. According to the shipbroker’s analysis, two LNG-powered Suezmax tankers and 41 Aframax / LR2 have been ordered. In addition, around 40 LNG-capable tankers are under construction. “That means if the market, the charterer or the owner decides to make the ship fully LNG-capable, the ship can be equipped with the necessary machinery and equipment,” says Gibson.

After completion of the structural work, the first LNG-powered VLCC continued Sea trials in September 2021. The 1,091-foot ship was built at the Dalian Shipyard and has a capacity of 318,000 tons, while numerous technical advances have been adopted to improve operational efficiency. It uses LNG as its main fuel, supplemented by heating oil. It uses a WINGD low pressure dual fuel main engine along with dual fuel generators and boilers and a single tube design which the shipyard says improves safety and flexibility for operation. The ship uses C-tanks, which are common on other LNG ships, and can run 12,000nm on LNG or 24,000 in dual-fuel mode. The daily gas consumption is around 60 tons.

COSCO ordered its first LNG VLCC in 2017, and Total agreements followed in 2020 to charter two LNG-powered VLCCs. The French company expects its ship to enter service in 2022.

The VLCCs follow the trend of increasing orders for large ocean-going vessels using alternative fuels including LNG. DNV estimates that 12 percent of the global order book is for LNG-powered ships.

About Christine Geisler

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