September 2017 saw the first successful test of the Universal Transfer System (UTS) for liquefied natural gas (LNG) transfer, developed in partnership between Trelleborg, Connect LNG and Gas Natural Fenosa.
By Vincent Lagarrigue, Director – Oil and Marine, Trelleborg
Historically, transferring LNG to and from vessels in locations with difficult conditions, such as ports with shallow drafts or those subject to extreme weather, has been unachievable. Shallow draft ports, where the water is no more than twenty feet deep, make it difficult or impossible for larger vessels to make it safely to shore and extreme weather conditions can put personnel and equipment at risk.
Additionally, existing infrastructure is often built with large carriers in mind, and is unsuitable for the diversity of vessel sizes represented in today’s fleet. As the fleet passed 500 vessels earlier this year, its growth is accompanied by a broader range of vessel types. Today, the live LNG fleet includes around 26 floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) and 33 small-scale ships of 30,000m³ or smaller.
As LNG’s role in the global energy mix increases, it is imperative that transfer technology keeps pace. It is for this reason that Trelleborg, Connect LNG and Gas Natural Fenosa launched the UTS.
The first test of the UTS transferred LNG from the tanker Coral Energy, a small-scale carrier chartered by Skangas, to the onshore terminal at the Norwegian port of Herøya. The system consists of Cryoline LNG hoses attached to a floating platform designed to maneuver offshore to meet a vessel, rather than requiring it to moor at shore. This significantly reduces the infrastructure required for ship-to-shore LNG projects, while simultaneously increasing the feasibility of LNG transfer in traditionally difficult port conditions.
To read the full article by Vincent Lagarrigue, please contact the Editor.
Image courtesy of Connect LNG.