Surging demand for LNG carriers has proved to be a catalyst in a new collaboration between Finnish power and automation technology firm Wärtsilä and South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI).
A new joint development project (JDP) is to focus on developing more efficient designs for LNG carriers and shuttle tankers. Overall cost optimisation, including both capital and operating costs, is one of the key aims of the project.
The companies said that an important driver has been the potentially strong LNG carrier newbuilding market, with “potentially dozens of new vessels to be ordered for transporting increasing volumes of LNG from both new and extended export LNG terminals in Africa, Australia, Middle East and USA.”
There are now more than 140 LNG carriers on order, equivalent to about 26% of the existing fleet. Meanwhile, Qatar Petroleum companies are considering contracts for up to 60 new vessels as they plan to ramp up production from 70 million tonnes a year to 110 million tonnes.