A new generation of Moss-type LNG carriers is supporting growth at the Australian LNG site
Among the largest Moss-type LNG carriers in the world, K Line’s Oceanic Breeze and Pacific Breeze both operate under long-term charters, carrying LNG from the Ichthys LNG Project in Darwin in the Northern Territory in Australia. The project, operated by Japan’s Inpex Corp, showed particularly strong growth in 2019, producing 7.53M tonnes of LNG, up 900% from its commissioning volumes in 2018. About 70% of Ichthys LNG Project’s capacity is expected to go to Japanese buyers. With a nameplate capacity of 8.9 mta, Ichthys LNG’s exports could still grow further.
As a result of Ichthys LNG Project’s growth and solid contributions from the country’s other established LNG hubs in Gladstone in Queensland and Karratha in West Australia, Australia has edged Qatar to become the world’s largest LNG exporter. Australia exported some 77.51M tonnes of LNG in 2019, while Qatar produced 75M tonnes.
To support shipments of 0.9M tonnes of LNG per year to Japan from the Ichthys LNG Project, Inpex Corp and K Line formed a joint venture (JV) in 2013. K Line controls 70% of the JV, Ocean Breeze LNG Transport SA, while Inpex Corp holds the remaining 30% stake.
Ocean Breeze LNG Transport signed a long-term charter agreement with Inpex Shipping Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Inpex Corp, and executed a shipbuilding contract with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) to build Oceanic Breeze.
Built by MHI’s Nagasaki Shipyard and Machinery Works, Oceanic Breeze is a Sayaendo design LNG carrier. To protect its four Moss spherical tanks, the Sayaendo features a peapod-shaped continuous cover integrated with the ship’s hull in lieu of conventional hemispherical covers. This configuration enables reductions in size and weight, while maintaining the ship’s overall structural rigidity. The continuous cover over the tanks also improves aerodynamics by substantially reducing air resistance that acts as a drag on ship propulsion. This, in turn, improves efficiency and reduces fuel consumption, cutting CO2 emissions.
For its main power unit, the Sayaendo vessel design uses MHI’s Ultra Steam Turbine Plant (UST), which provides higher thermal efficiency through the use of thermal energy by reheating steam. Through downsizing, weight reduction and hull line improvement, Sayaendo LNG carriers achieve a substantial 20% reduction in fuel consumption compared to conventional ships, according to K Line. The vessel’s service speed is 19.5 knots.
Making its maiden voyage in February 2019 from Ichthys LNG to Naoetsu LNG Terminal, Niigata, Japan, Oceanic Breeze has an overall length 288 m, beam of 48.94 m and draught of 11.55 m, with a capacity of 155,300 m3. Oceanic Breeze’s Moss tanks also provide a low boil off rate (BOR) of 0.08% per day.
Designed and built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI), Pacific Breeze is Oceanic Breeze’s big sister. With a capacity of 182,000 m3, length overall of 289.3 m and beam of 52 m, Pacific Breeze is the largest Moss-type LNG carrier and first to be equipped with the Tri-Fuel Diesel (TFD) propulsion system. Unlike its sister, Pacific Breeze was time chartered by IT Marine Transport Pte Ltd, a JV between Inpex Corp and Total and consigned to CPC. In October 2018, Pacific Breeze carried the first LNG cargo from the Ichthys LNG Project to Taiwan.
With a nameplate capacity of 8.9 mta, Ichthys LNG Project is the first large-scale LNG project by global standards operated by Inpex.
In addition to LNG, the project will produce LPG (approximately 1.65 mta) as well as 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.
K Line Group is involved in the shipment of LNG, LPG and condensate exported by the project. The project’s first LPG was carried by K Line’s very large gas carrier (VLGC) Grace River. It is further planned that Aframax tankers operated by K Line’s subsidiary in Singapore will carry condensate products.