Tianjin Southwest firms up option for two LPG carrier dual-fuel retrofits

COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry (Guangdong) had revealed that it will retrofit the main engines aboard two LPG carriers from the fleet of compatriot liquefied gas operator Tianjin Southwest Maritime.

Credit: MAN ES

As informed, the company has exercised he option in a contract signed with MAN Energy Solutions’s after-sales division, MAN PrimeServ, in October 2022 to similarly retrofit two LPG carriers to dual-fuel operation.

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Accordingly, the individual MAN B&W 6G60ME-C engines aboard vessels, Gas Libra and Gas Scorpio, will be retrofitted to dual-fuel MAN B&W 6G60ME-LGIP units capable of running on LPG, to which end they are scheduled to enter drydock in January 2024.

As with the previous two vessels, MAN PrimeServ will jointly carry out the work with CMS (CSSC Marine Service Co. Ltd.), the after-sales subsidiary of CSSC Marine Power Group.

“It’s crucial to nurture partnerships to successfully pull off dual-fuel retrofit projects and we are very happy to collaborate with CMS on these – now – four vessel retrofits. Our negotiations with CMS have concluded to our mutual satisfaction and will strengthen our partnership,” Per Rud, Senior Vice President, MAN PrimeServ, said.

“Switching to low-carbon fuel is the most effective way to decarbonise the existing maritime fleet. In this respect, dual-fuel retrofits are an excellent device for shipowners to maintain their assets’ value moving forward,” Klaus Rasmussen, Head of Projects and PVU Sales, MAN PrimeServ, said.

“Additionally, for Very Large Gas Carriers, their ability to operate off their own cargo makes for a very positive business case. Before the original signing of this contract, Tianjin Southwest had already ordered six vessels powered by ME-LGIP main engines and LPG is quickly becoming the de facto standard in this segment. Currently, we estimate that there are over 150 VLGCs with single-fuel engine technology that could benefit from conversion to LPG-running.”

According to MAN ES, LPG is a better option than compliant fuel-oil with high lifetime-savings prospects. By leveraging LPG as a marine fuel, vessels benefit from savings due to lower fuel consumption and full dual-fuel flexibility, which guards against price sensitivity to post-2020 fuel-price fluctuations.

Furthermore, the ability to use LPG cargo as a supplemental fuel source also reduces time and fees for fuel bunkering.

Harnessing LPG propulsion also translates into cleaner, more efficient engines that are cheaper to maintain. In addition, the fuel flexibility of dual-fuel engines ensures full redundancy for uninterrupted operations.

It is estimated that using LPG as a fuel would reduce: SOx by 99%, CO2 by 15%, NOx by 10%, and particulate matter by 90% as compared to 2020-compliant fuels.