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    ABS, AEC to Collaborate on Nextgen ULEC Fleet


Classification organisation also announces ethane-to-LNG conversion notation

by: Dale Lunan

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Americas, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Premium, Corporate, Contracts and tenders, News By Country, United States

ABS, AEC to Collaborate on Nextgen ULEC Fleet

ABS, a global ship certification organisation, and American Ethane Company (AEC) said September 18 they will collaborate on the next generation of ultra-large ethane carriers (ULEC).

The announcement, at Gastech 2019 in Houston, will lead to the construction of a fleet of ULECs designed to deliver 7.2mn mt/yr of ethane to China.

With a capacity of around 150,000 m³ each, the carriers will be among the biggest and most advanced ethane carriers to be ordered, ABS said. It has been supporting AEC with the technical and regulatory requirements for the ULECs that will supply ethane from the US Gulf Coast to a number of petrochemical facilities in China.

“The American Ethane Company highly appreciates ABS’ contribution to developing a new class of 150,000 m³ ethane carriers,” AEC CEO John Houghtailing said. “The joint effort between China Merchant Group, AEC and ABS means this vessel has incorporated modern technologies such as cargo containment systems, ethane propulsion and hull design, and brings logistics efficiency and cost savings to long-term ethane shipping between the US and Asia. Approval in principal of this design by ABS is the first step to further innovations in the industry.”

ABS has already classified six 87,000 m3 very large ethane carriers (VLEC), while six more 98,000 m3 VLECs are on order to ABS class.

Also on September 18 at Gastech, ABS launched the shipping industry’s first-ever LNG cargo-ready notation, opening the door to the development of ethane carriers that can be converted to LNG carriers.

The classification will be developed by ABS in conjunction with GTT, a leading global designer of LNG membrane containment systems.

The cargo-ready notation confirms that an ethane carrier is capable of future modification to trade LNG cargoes, identifies potential barriers and assesses the LNG capability of equipment and systems installed on VLECs.

“Our work to make the next generation of ethane carriers more flexible and better able to adapt to developments in the international markets underscores our focus on developing solutions that respond to the challenges faced by owners, charterers and operators while ushering in new concepts and fostering the latest technologies,” said Patrick Janssens, ABS vice-president, global gas solutions.