Nakilat was an early adopter of electronically controlled, dual-fuel engines; now it is adding more vessels powered by this technology to its fleet
It has been five years since Qatari shipowner Nakilat added ME-GI propulsion technology to its fleet, with the conversion of one of the world’s largest LNG carriers. Now, Nakilat has taken delivery of Global Energy, the first ME-GI propulsion LNG newbuild carrier in the Qatari shipowner’s fleet and the first of four new gas carriers under a joint venture with long-term partner Maran Ventures.
Maran Ventures, the LNG ship owning arm of the Angelicoussis Group, will have a 40% stake in joint venture Global Shipping Co Ltd, with Nakilat retaining the remaining 60% interest. As a result of adding four new vessels, Nakilat’s fleet will grow to 74 vessels, including four liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) carriers and one floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU). Nakilat will control just under 12% of the current global LNG fleet carrying capacity.
Nakilat chief executive Abdullah Al Sulaiti said: “We are committed to growing our fleet in a sustainable manner to meet the rising demand for clean energy transport globally. Adding this technologically advanced newbuild to our fleet not only gives us a competitive edge, but also allows us to provide additional capacity and flexibility to our customers, which is important in a dynamic marketplace.”
Maran Ventures chairman John Angelicoussis said: “Nakilat has been a strategic partner for many years and we are pleased to be taking delivery of this first LNG vessel under our new Global Shipping joint venture. We are confident these high specification vessels built by DSME and now managed technically and commercially by Nakilat, will provide charterers with a first-class LNG shipping service.”
Built by South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME), Global Energy is commercially managed by Nakilat and technically/crew managed in-house by its ship management subsidiary, Nakilat Shipping Qatar Limited (NSQL).
Set to be delivered between 2020 and 2022, the four Global Shipping newbuilds in will be equipped with advanced dual fuel, two-stroke engines, with two LNG carriers featuring MAN Energy Solutions’ electronically controlled high-pressure, Diesel-cycle ME-GI models, and the other two WinGD’s X-DF low-pressure, Otto-cycle propulsion systems. Two of the vessels will have a cargo carrying capacity of 173,400 m3 and the other two, 174,000 m3.
ME-GI series LNG carriers such as Global Energy are designed to be significantly larger than the conventional LNG carriers, with a lower boil-off rate (BOR), more fuel efficient, and having lower emission levels than other engines currently being used in LNG shipping. Global Energy’s main propulsion plant consists of two 5GME70-C5.9-GI-Tier III engines, each with a maximum continuous rating of 12,590 kW at 69 rpm. The engines were manufactured under license by Hyundai Heavy Industries.
Flying the Marshall Islands flag, Global Energy is fitted with GTT’s No96 cargo containment system technology. Additionally, Nakilat anticipates that operating a ME-GI class LNG carrier will have considerable capital expenditure and overall operational cost saving advantages – one of the most competitive LNG carriers on a Unit Transportation cost (UTC) basis.
GLOBAL ENERGY - AT-A -GLANCE
Keel laid: 18 July 2019
Launch: 14 October 2019
Delivery: 20 May 2020
Owner: Global Shipping Co
Ship Manager: NSQL
Length overall: 294.9
Beam: 46.4 m
Cargo capacity: 173,514 m3
Propulsion: (2) 5GME70-C5.9-GI-Tier III
Cargo containment: GTT No96
First ME-GI fitted on Q-Max
Nakilat was an early adopter of ME-GI technology, following a pioneering conversion project. Driven by a focus on sustainability, Nakilat pursued a pilot project for the world’s first ME-GI systems onboard an LNG carrier. Built in 2010, the 266,000-m3 Rasheeda is one of the largest LNG carriers in the world. Rasheeda became the world’s first low-speed marine diesel engine to be converted to use LNG as fuel in 2015. It became a pivotal case study for ships of its scale and launched one of the most successful two-stroke engines in the LNG carrier market. Lessons learned from this pilot project continue to pave the way for greater enhancement in green shipping system designs across the industry.
Since 2012, 16 Nakilat-operated vessels have been recognised with Green Awards to certify their ‘extra clean and extra safe’ operations by the Green Award Foundation. The addition of four LNG newbuilds to its fleet will strengthen Nakilat’s efforts to operate sustainably. These vessels are designed to achieve greater thermal efficiency, be more environmentally friendly and drive cost-effective operations. This is critical in order for Nakilat to respond to an increasingly competitive shipping environment that demands operational excellence and sustainability.
When it comes to sustainability, Nakilat’s green shipping initiatives extend from ‘cradle to grave’. As the European Union (EU) is pursuing a policy to make ship recycling greener and safer, Nakilat has started obtaining Inventory Hazardous Materials (IHM) certification for its vessels according to EU Legislation, which requires ships to have an inventory of hazardous material on board. Global Energy, for example, holds IHM certification. Extensive surveys have been completed, with samples taken and analysed in labs. In addition to all mandatory certifications, the vessels maintain voluntary compliance certification with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.
Digitalisation supports Covid-19 response
Much like other shipowners in these unprecedented times, Nakilat has implemented various measures to ensure the health and safety of its employees across its integrated operations onboard ships, at its headquarters and at the shipyard.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Nakilat managed to ensure the continuity of its operations, transporting LNG to 26 countries and 90 different terminals. This continuity has been underpinned by a company-wide digital transformation that has been underway over recent years. This effort saw significant upgrades to the company’s digital infrastructure, system enhancements and other security features at all its worksites, including onboard its vessels, as part of its risk management and business continuity preparedness.
As a result, onshore-based employees who are required to work remotely from home are able to monitor vessels’ activities online and communicate with the crew onboard the vessels. In lieu of ship visits, virtual meetings have been conducted by individual vessel superintendents to engage the fleet and seafarers throughout the pandemic.
Having been an early adapter to automation and digitalisation, Nakilat has also successfully completed the installation of Asset Management Operating System (AMOS); all its in-house operated vessels, which includes its newly transitioned and newbuild carriers, have all been fitted with AMOS, enabling the team to effectively plan and execute maintenance strategies, and audits and virtual inspection to monitor overall vessel performance while minimising unexpected downtime.
As stricter restrictions to go onboard vessels are imposed, classification, flag states, shipowners and ship operators have quickly adapted by leveraging technologies and digital tools. Remote audits are fast becoming a new normal to enable quality assurance programmes and mandatory surveys and inspections to continue uninterrupted throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Nakilat’s readiness in adapting to this new environment has enabled successful remote audits conducted by Lloyd’s Register and DNV GL.
NSQL achieved a milestone LTI-free year for 2019 for its managed and operated fleet. Since establishment in 2012, NSQL has maintained an enviable safety track record and surpassed the industry average safety benchmarks. In addition, Nakilat recorded a 99.75% average reliability in 2019 for its wholly owned vessels of 29 LNG vessels and four LPG vessels, an increase from 98.1% in 2018.
This achievement is attributed to the success of safety enhancement initiatives and the Incident and Injury Free (IIF) and shared values ‘InSPIRE’ campaigns across its fleet, which not only empowers individuals to take safety ownership but also encourages them to embody the company’s core values throughout their daily operations.
Fleet management transition continues
Nakilat commenced the second phase of the fleet management transition from Shell International Trading and Shipping Company Limited (Shell) to in-house ship manager NSQL in May. Q-Max vessels Al Mayeda, Bu Samra and Al Samriya and Q-Flex gas ship Al Kharaitiyat are the first of seven LNG carriers to be transitioned to date.
During the first phase of transition in 2017, Nakilat brought 10 vessels to its in-house ship management. Since then, NSQL has maintained excellent safety and operational performance above the industry average in the global shipping sector. Upon completion of the second phase vessel transition from Shell, NSQL’s managed fleet will comprise 27 vessels, including 25 transferred vessels (21 LNG and four LPG carriers) and two newbuilds.
“This technologically advanced newbuild gives us a competitive edge”
The company says the management of its vessels centrally from Qatar will allow it to capitalise on existing synergies with its main charterer, to realise greater operational efficiencies and optimise costs.
Added Mr Al Sulaiti: “The steady expansion of our fleet through the acquisition of these four newbuilds and the second phase fleet transition that has already commenced, comes as part of our efforts to maximise returns for our shareholders and strengthen our position as the leading transporter of clean energy.”
Seafarer development programme
Nakilat aspires not only to be a leading energy transportation and maritime company, but also to be recognised as a safe, reliable and efficient ship operator. Aligned with its long-term growth objective, Nakilat has been expanding its in-house crew administration to have greater autonomy in its operations and closer management of its seafarers.
With the new addition of technologically advanced vessels to its fleet, Nakilat remains focused in the development of competencies, enhancing skills, acquiring technical know-how and modernising its systems to develop a professional maritime workforce.
Nakilat also intends to take full vessel management responsibility of the FSRU Exquisite. To support the effort, Nakilat’s Seafarers’ Competence Development Programme is aimed at developing qualified seafarers in accordance with international standards.
In 2018, Nakilat acquired a 55% interest in Exquisite from US-based Excelerate Energy. With a capacity of 150,900 m3, Exquisite is currently operating at Port Qasim in Pakistan.
Nakilat continues to explore opportunities to expand its portfolio, diversify its business and grow its global reach in multiple market sectors such as LNG ships, FSRUs, LPG ships, small-scale LNG as well as downstream LNG value chain.