Under its newbuilding programme, the Norwegian ship owner is adding its largest LNG carriers and a small-scale vessel for Mediterranean operations
Norway’s Knutsen Shipping Group has roots that stretch back more than 120 years. Today, it is one of the world’s largest shuttle tanker owners and a major player in the LNG shipping business. Led by Trygve Seglem and headquartered in Hagesund, Norway, the group encompasses the shuttle tanker and floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) business through Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers and the publicly listed KNOT Offshore Partners. The LNG carrier ownership and ship management business is conducted through Knutsen LNG and Knutsen OAS Shipping and marine technology development through Knutsen Technology.
Knutsen Technology has developed volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions reduction systems for use during tanker loading operations and is now seeking US Coast Guard approval for its KBAL ballast water treatment system.
Mr Seglem serves as chairman of KNOT Offshore Partners, president and chief executive officer of Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers and is the owner and managing director of Knutsen OAS Shipping.
Knutsen OAS shipping entered the LNG market after delivery of the company’s first steam propulsion 138,400 m3 LNG carrier, built in Spain in 2004. During 2010, Knutsen added four LNG carriers from South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), all with dual fuel engines. All of Knutsen’s LNG carriers are fitted with GTT NO 96 membrane cargo containment systems, with maximum operational speeds of 19.5 knots.
"Knutsen Technology has developed volatile organic compound emissions reduction systems for use during tanker loading operations"
The current fleet stands at 10 large-scale LNG carriers ranging in capacity from 138,000 to 174,300 m3, and one small-scale LNG carrier, Pioneer Knutsen, with a capacity of 1,100 m3. Pioneer Knutsen is the smallest LNG carrier in the world, delivering LNG along the Norwegian coast. It has been used in ship-to-ship transfers and delivers LNG to bunkering terminals and other industry along Norway’s west coast.
Pioneer Knutsen is one of the smallest LNG carriers in the world, with a capacity of 1,100 m3 (image: Wartsila)
A newbuild programme is being managed by Knutsen OAS Shipping, with four LNG carriers on order, three of which have a capacity of 180,000 m3 and are under construction at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), with one small-scale 30,000 m3 capacity vessel at Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).
Small-scale LNG in Italy
Of particular interest is the small-scale, dual-fuel newbuild that will be one of the first LNG carriers of its size to be fitted with Type C bi-lobe cargo tanks. The vessel will go on a 12-year charter with energy company Edison SpA of Milan, Italy, when it is delivered in 2021. The small-scale LNG carrier will operate in the Mediterranean, supplying LNG to a new small-scale LNG terminal under construction at the Port of Ravenna in Italy to serve heavy-duty on-road vehicles and vessels that use LNG as a fuel. Edison and logistics and cargo handling company PIR are investing US$112M in the terminal, which will have a storage capacity of 20,000 m3. It is expected to open in 2021.
"Our development plan in small-scale LNG involves the construction of a system of coastal depots, of which the Ravenna plant is only the first,” says Edison executive vice president of gas midstream energy management Pierre Vergerio. “Our goal is to reach 25% of the Italian market by 2030 and Ravenna is just the first step.”
In 2017, Edison signed an agreement with Venture Global LNG to purchase 1.4Bn m3 of LNG from the Calcasieu Pass LNG.
Because it is dual-fuel, the small-scale tanker’s main and auxiliary engines will also be consumers of boil-off gas (BOG). Wärtsilä is supplying the vessel’s cargo-handling system, incorporating the fuel supply, cargo control system, BOG re-liquefaction and safety management.
For propulsion, the small-scale LNG carrier will have a five-cylinder WinGD X52DF dual-fuel main engine. Its main and auxiliary dual-fuel engines are essential consumers for the BOG management system, which monitors and controls the cryogenic cargo, to ensure, in combination with a mixed refrigerant re-liquefaction unit, all time control over the cargo tank pressure and temperature.
“The latest development of LNG infrastructure provides clear evidence of the increasing importance of LNG fuel to the marine industry. Wärtsilä has a lot of experience and know-how throughout the LNG value chain, and we are confident that their solutions are what we need for this latest expansion to our fleet,” says Knutsen OAS Group newbuilding director Jarle Østenstad.
The scope of supply includes three Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel auxiliary engines that power the board net, thrusters, cargo control system, and re-liquefaction module. The main engine and single Wärtsilä controllable pitch propeller system allow the vessel to operate at its highest fuel efficiency design point, in a combinator mode controlling the shaft power, pitch and speed.
The small-scale vessel is owned 41% by Norwegian investment group Klaveness Marine Holdings.
First of four chartered to Spain
On the other end of the LNG carrier newbuild scale, Knutsen OAS Shipping will take delivery of Adriano Knutsen in July. With a capacity of 180,000 m3, Adriano Knutsen will operate under a seven-year charter agreement with Spanish energy company Endesa, transporting LNG from the US Gulf Coast to Spain.
The charter contract, which contains two options of six years each, will cover part of the maritime transport needs under the LNG purchase agreements held by both Endesa and its parent Enel Group over the next 20 years. The value of the contract is US$25M per year, and the construction cost of the LNG carrier, which amounts to around US$185M, according to Endesa.
Flying the Spanish flag, Adriano Knutsen will have an overall length of 300 m and beam of 48 m – allowing it to transit the expanded Panama Canal – with a draught of 26.4 m.
The total onboard re-liquefaction system reduces the carrier’s gas consumption and offers options for its propulsion fuel, which can be 100% natural gas or low-sulphur fuel oil Additionally, the vessel has systems to reduce NOx emissions.
Traiano Knutsen, a sister vessel to the Adriano Knutsen under construction at HHI in Ulsan, will be chartered by Enel, with delivery set for mid-2020.
AT A GLANCE
Overall length: 299 m
Beam: 48 m
Draught: 26.4 m
Capacity: 180,000 m3
Maximum speed: 19.5 knots
Main engines: (2) MAN B&W 5G70ME-GI
Cargo Containment: GTT Mark III Flex