Six new 87,000 cubic metres capacity very large ethane carriers (VLECs), being built at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in South Korea, will feature Wärtsilä gas handling systems. Wärtsilä is the market leader in cargo handling technology for gas carriers and has an extensive reference base. The contract was signed in September. There is an option for additional vessels within this series. Deliveries of the Wärtsilä solutions will commence in 2016.
These vessels will be the biggest ethane carriers ever built, and represent a new generation of such vessels mainly transporting ethane as feed stock to the petrochemical industry. The transportation of ethane is a rapidly growing segment of the marine gas carrying business and it is anticipated that the global VLEC fleet will increase significantly during the coming years. Wärtsilä’s leading position in gas handling systems is notably enhanced by this trend.
The VLECs are being built for the Reliance Group, India’s largest private sector enterprise. The group has businesses in the energy and materials value chain, including petrochemicals. The new vessels will carry ethane from American shale gas to India to be processed for making plastic. Delivery of the ships will commence at the end of 2016 and is scheduled to be completed in early 2017.
Wärtsilä’s scope of supply represents a complete cargo handling package for each ship. This includes the process and arrangement engineering; the deck tank; all equipment related to the cargo handling; and a purpose-built reliquefaction plant to handle the C-ethane from the American shale gas.
“This is a valuable order and one that again emphasises Wärtsilä’s competences and experience in gas handling systems. These state-of-the-art ethane carriers require state-of-the-art gas handling systems. Our technology and know-how in this field uniquely positions us to offer the most appropriate solutions for VLEC’s, which is an application that is rapidly expanding,” says Timo Koponen, Vice President, Flow and Gas Solutions, Wärtsilä Ship Power.
Wärtsilä is currently the only company able to offer solutions throughout the entire gas handling chain and to cater for all types of carriers, from the smallest size LPG carriers for coastal transport to the largest LNG carriers with the capacity to carry more than 220,000 cubic metres of cargo.
Wärtsilä's cargo handling solutions cover everything from loading the gas at the terminal to keeping it safe during freight and unloading it at the final destination. When the cargo is gas, it is of the utmost importance to keep it under stable conditions at a certain temperature and pressure. Thus, efficient processing is an essential element of the company’s offering. Wärtsilä’s products all comply with the IMO’s recommendations and regulations.
Picture: Illustration of a very large ethane carrier.