‘World’s first’ fifth-generation LNG carrier put to sea months earlier than planned

A new liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier has been launched five months ahead of its contract period. This vessel has been developed, designed, and built by Hudong-Zhonghua Shipbuilding, a subsidiary of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).

Lv Neng Ying LNG carrier; Source: China Shipbuilding Industry Association

After the naming and delivery at the Hudong Zhonghua Changxing Island Factory in March came the launch of the Lv Neng Ying LNG carrier on May 15. According to China Shipbuilding Industry Association (CANSI), this is the “world’s first” fifth-generation Changheng Series 174,000 cubic meter large-scale LNG transport ship. The LNG carrier will work for China’s energy giant CNOOC.

Compared with the previous generation ship, the new vessel’s carbon emissions for a single day’s voyage are estimated to be curbed by more than 10 tons. Adopting the WinGD 5X72DF2.1 dual-fuel main engine installed with the intelligent control exhaust gas recirculation ( iCER ) system technology, the vessel is said to be the first ship of the ‘CNOOC mid- and long-term FOB resource supporting LNG carrier project.

This is divided into two phases, building 12 LNG ships of 174,000 cubic meters in total. If these ships are put into operation, about 7 million tons of LNG will be transported back from all over the world every year, which is estimated to have the potential to meet the needs of 54 million families for nearly a year.

The Lv Neng Ying LNG ship is perceived to be an important piece of China’s plan to ensure the safety of energy transportation, improve the independent controllability of its LNG transportation industry chain, lending a helping hand to the country in building up its manufacturing and maritime power. Hudong-Zhonghua has undertaken a total of 34 Changheng Series LNG carriers so far.

With LNG tanks fitted with GTT’s NO96 Super+ containment system, the evaporation rate is expected to be 15% lower than the previous generation L03+ system, reaching a boil-off rate of 0,085% V/d, which is anticipated to provide a wider range of oil and gas balance speeds for low-carbon navigation intervals.

Given the weight of previous generation vessels, the new LNG carrier of 174,000 cbm is said to have lost more than 1,500 tons of weight, but comes with a higher cargo hold loading rate and can load 800 cubic meters more LNG per voyage.

As outlined by CANSI, the vessel can be equipped with an optional reliquefaction system of 1.5 to 2.3 tons, which can adapt to the various balanced utilization requirements of evaporation gas in different routes, such as short-distance, medium-distance, and long-distance.

CNOOC’s business strategy and development plan for 2024 spotlights its intention to step up oil and gas production, strengthen hydrocarbon reserves, and scale up natural gas exploration activities. The Chinese player also intends to boost its energy transition journey to low-carbon and renewable energy.

A loading operation of an FPSO, which is said to be independently designed and built by China, was recently completed with COSCO SHIPPING Heavy Transport’s semi-submersible heavy lift vessel. This FPSO will be deployed at CNOOC’s oilfield off the coast of China.