AG&P unveils first ultra-shallow draft small LNG carrier

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A new type of liquefied natural gas (LNG) transport may soon be plying local waters after infrastructure solutions provider AG&P (Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company) announced on Friday that its first small LNG carrier (LNGC) would be built in the Philippines.

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Speaking at the 4th Annual Gas Asia Summit in Singapore, Mr. Derek Thomas, Head of AG&P’s Advanced Research Unit said the company will finance and build the 4000 to 8000 cubic meter capacity LNGC in 16 months at its world-class manufacturing facility in the Philippines. The vessel will be available for sale or lease, making it immediately available for new developers of LNG-related projects.

In a first for the rapidly emerging small-scale LNG infrastructure industry in Southeast Asia, the LNGC will serve as a ‘work horse’ for near shore LNG milk-run deliveries to locations that have limited access including shallow rivers and restricted harbors with low water depth, the company said.

“LNG can be break-bulked—breaking larger LNG cargoes into smaller shipments—and transported in small volumes over short distances using coastal tankers, specialized trucks and trains to a variety of customers. The availability of a smaller scale delivery network through break-bulking has enabled both distributed power generation and a variety of industrial applications in various manufacturing and processing facilities. Our new scalable LNGC is a plug-and-play customizable supply solution that requires lower capital cost making LNG more accessible and economically viable for small or developing LNG import markets,” Thomas said.

The LNGC is a timely innovation in Southeast Asia, which is currently a growing market for LNG and where small-scale LNG solutions are most relevant. It is projected that the region’s demand for gas will increase from 22.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2012 to 63 Tcf in 2040. The LNGC is especially ideal for archipelagic countries such as the Philippines, where some regions remain either inaccessible or too small to be feasibly served by current vessel models.

The LNGC workhorse has a unique hull design that reduces the waterline entrance angle and vessel resistance in waves. It can be ballasted in open water improving both stability and speed and does not need handling tugs. The vessel cargo capacity is easily scalable from 4000 to 8000 cubic meters’ capacity, with flexibility to travel near shore or take on LNG cargo from a floating storage unit (FSU) anchored offshore. It can navigate open seas as well as riverine waterways with a minimum speed requirement as low as eight knots.

AG&P recently created a franchise for small- and mid-scale LNG infrastructure to build-out a complete virtual LNG pipeline. With in-house design and engineering capabilities coupled with asset construction and delivery services, AG&P has the capability to develop flexible and economic solutions that best fit the customer’s needs and optimizes an asset’s value, the company added.

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