First of its kind delivered by a South Korean shipyard, Ravenna Knutsen will go on long-term charter to Edison supporting new ssLNG terminal
South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD) celebrated a milestone after delivering its first-ever medium-sized LNG carrier, marking the next stage of a long-term partnership between Norwegian shipowner Knutsen OAS and Italian energy services provider Edison SpA.
The delivery of the 33,000 m3 Ravenna Knutsen advances HMD’s entry into the smaller LNG carrier market, making it South Korea’s first shipyard to build a vessel of its type. HMD, part of the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Shipbuilding Group, secured the US$77M contract – with the option for a second vessel – in 2018. The carrier, which will mainly operate in the Mediterranean delivering LNG to a new LNG storage terminal in Italy, took 14 months to complete.
Following the successful delivery of the vessel, HMD, which specialises in medium-sized commercial ships, said Ravenna Knutsen solidified its presence in diversification into high value-added ships.
Under a 12-year agreement the vessel will be owned and operated by Knutsen OAS and chartered to Edison to supply LNG as part of Edison’s pioneering small-scale LNG (ssLNG) terminal project, which aims to provide a sustainable fuel alternative for the marine and truck transportation sector.
Ravenna Knutsen is one of the world’s first small- or medium-scale LNG carriers to feature space-saving IMO Type C bi-lobe cargo tanks, which can be fully or partially pressurised. It is fitted with three 10,100 m3 tanks with low alloy 9% Ni steel to operate safely at low temperatures.
With an overall length of 180 m, beam of 28.4 m and draft of 8.42 m, the 27,100-gt vessel has a maximum speed of 15 knots. Designed to comply with stricter international environmental maritime regulations, whilst at the same time increasing operational efficiency, it is equipped with an Otto-cycle, low-pressure Hyundai WinGD 5X52DF dual-fuel main engine – with a maximum output of 7,710 kW – driving a Wärtsilä-supplied controllable-pitch propeller. Operating in gas mode, the engine is IMO Tier III compliant. The vessel can use marine diesel and LNG fuel during operation and the shaft generator is able to produce and supply electricity through propulsion. For manoevrability, the LNG carrier is equipped with a TTC 65 tunnel thruster supplied by Kongsberg Maritime.
A notable technical feature on the DNV class vessel is the boil-off gas (BOG) reliquefaction unit, which ensures a higher level of operational flexibility and a further improvement in terms of containment of environmental impact.
Wärtsilä supplied the integrated propulsion and cargo-handling solution, including the fuel supply, cargo-control system, and BOG reliquefaction.
A company spokesman said the five-cylinder dual-fuel main engine and the three Wärtsilä 8L20DF auxiliary dual-fuel engines were essential consumers for the BOG management system, which monitors and controls the cryogenic cargo, to ensure, in combination with a developed mixed refrigerant re-liquefaction unit, all-time control over the cargo tank pressure and temperature.
The delivery of the Spanish-flag LNG carrier is a significant step towards the opening of the first coastal ssLNG terminal in mainland Italy in the port of Ravenna. The LNG carrier, initially operating with a capacity of 10,000 m3 and doubling after that, is slated to go into service in Q3 2021 to dovetail with the opening of the LNG depot.
In 2018 Edison, a leading Italian and European operator in the supply, production and sale of electricity, announced a partnership with Petrolifera Italo Rumena (PIR) and the creation of a new company, Depositi Italiani GNL, to build the €100M (US$121M) Ravenna terminal. It will have a storage capacity of 20,000 m3 and annual handling capacity of more than 1M m3 of LNG; making LNG available in Italy to fuel up to 48 ferries and 12,000 trucks a year. At the same time, Edison revealed its 12-year agreement with Knutsen OAS, with options to extend for an additional eight years, for the chartering of Ravenna Knutsen.
“Our target is to reach 25% of the Italian market by 2030; Ravenna is only the first step”
Commenting on the charter agreement, Edison chief executive officer Marc Benayoun said: “Not only are we guaranteeing the country a new source of LNG supply by creating a new infrastructure, but we are also contributing to build a future of sustainable energy, enabling the achievement of the targets set by 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) Directive for Alternative Fuels Infrastructure (DAFI) European directive and National Energy Strategy, thanks to the reduction of emissions produced by maritime and heavy-duty transport that this new fuel makes possible.”
Added Mr Benayoun: “This agreement is a fundamental element for the development of Edison’s small-scale LNG project to provide a sustainable and green fuel alternative for the naval and truck transportation sector.”
Following the delivery of Ravenna Knutsen Edison has confirmed that the development work in Ravenna is moving forward as planned, while revealing plans for the creation of further coastal LNG storage facilities.
Pierre Vergerio, the company’s executive vice president, gas midstream energy management, added: “Our target is to reach 25% of the Italian market by 2030, therefore Ravenna is only the first step.” Added Mr Vergerio: “The LNG advantages in terms of emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels are clear, both in heavy-duty and maritime transport. We estimate the project will avoid 6M tons of CO2 emissions over its life cycle.”
Growing LNG infrastructure is underpinning the strong growth potential for LNG-fuelled vessels and heavy vehicles in the Italian market.
There are 199 vessels in operation and another 283 under construction that will use LNG as a fuel, according to DNV’s Alternative Fuels Insight. There are another 163 vessels built ‘LNG ready’.
Edison is currently the only long-term importer of LNG in Italy, which includes a supply from the US following a sales and purchase agreement with Venture Global for some 1.4Bn m3 of LNG from the Calcasieu Pass plant under development in Louisiana.
Knutsen OAS deputy managing director Synnøve Seglem noted that the shipowner had worked a “long time to get this contract” and was “looking forward to a long relationship with a new charterer, Edison.”
The Norwegian shipowner has extensive experience in the transportation of LNG, crude oil, oil products and chemicals. With the addition of Ravenna Knutsen, Knutsen OAS has 46 vessels in operation – 31 shuttle tankers, including two floating storage and offloading units, four product tankers and 11 LNG carriers. It has an additional three LNG carriers and three shuttle tankers currently under construction.