Transportation accounts for 10% to 30% of the cost of the LNG value chain. Therefore it would make sense that part of the design criteria for each project is that the carrier ships will be design-engineered and contracted with a commercial shipping company on a long-term basis to supply a full end to end LNG delivery solution.
LNG Carrier – Optimal Vessel Size Assessment
In order to reduce capital cost and optimize the offloading and storage facility, the shipping component of the project needs careful consideration. An analysis requires consideration of the following elements:
- LNG Carrier Vessel Type and Size (including the required Marine Transfer System)
- Comparison of Shipping Costs – Small and Large Scale LNG Vessels
- Shipping Vessel Analysis – Vessel Size, Distance from Supply Terminals to Destination, International Charter Rates, Vessel Size vs. Terminal Costs
- LNG FOB Pricing per Terminal that the selected vessel size may enter
With a rapidly evolving LNG market, newer vessels are being designed and built to incorporate continuous technical innovations, including increased capacity, more efficient hull designs and propulsion systems, enhanced cargo insulation and improvements of on board control systems.
LNG carriers in service are fitted with independent cargo tanks and with membrane tanks. LNG carriers are generally specialized ships transporting LNG at its atmospheric pressure boiling point of approximately -162 degree C, depending on the cargo grade. These ships are usually dedicated vessels, but some smaller examples may also carry basic LPG cargoes. If an LNG ship is capable of carrying basic LPG cargoes, a liquefaction plant is installed to handle the boil-off LPG cargo vapors.
LNG carrier designs were typically in the range 80-135,000 m3 up until 2006. In 2006 the first LNG ships of over 200,000m3 and 250,000 m3 were being constructed.