Quality LNG Transport (Q-LNG) has signed a preliminary agreement with VT Halter Marine (VTHM) for the construction of a second LNG bunkering articulated tug and barge (ATB) unit. The construction of a 4,000-m3 ATB LNG bunker vessel (LNGBV) for Q-LNG under long-term charter to Shell is already underway at the Mississippi shipyard.
The new ship will have a capacity of 8,000 m3 and is set to be ordered speculatively. No charterer has been announced, as yet, for the second ATB.
Q-LNG Transport is owned 30% by Harvey Gulf International Marine (HGIM) and 70% by Shane Guidry, HGIM’s chief executive. Harvey Gulf operates a fleet of US-flag offshore support vessels (OSVs), six of the newest of which are LNG-powered, and an LNG bunkering station at its home base in Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Shell charters three of the LNG-powered OSVs.
The first Q-LNG ATB bunker vessel was ordered at VT Halter in November 2017 on the back of the Shell charter. The vessel will be operated by Harvey Gulf International Marine on delivery in Q1 2020.
Read more: Bunkering in Ship – A detailed guide
Shell has also agreed to bunker two new LNG-powered, 180,000-gt cruise ships currently under construction for Carnival Cruise Line and due for delivery between 2020 and 2022.
The Carnival Cruise Line ships will be deployed in the Caribbean region and Shell will use the 4,000-m3 LNG bunkering ATB to service these dual-fuel ships and a range of others in the southeastern US.
Shell will have access to the LNG to be produced by the new small-scale liquefaction trains currently being assembled at the Elba island LNG terminal in Savannah, Georgia, and will load the ATB at this facility. The most likely location for bunkering the cruise ships will be at their home port in Miami, Florida.
The Q-LNG contract is part of Shell’s growing commitment to LNG bunkering. In addition to the LNG fuel supply contracts it holds with owners of LNG-powered ships, Shell operates Cardissa, a 6,500-m3 purpose-built LNGBV based in Rotterdam, and charters Anthony Veder’s 7,500-m3 Coral Methane, an LNG carrier modified in 2018 to enable it to carry out ship-to-ship LNG fuelling operations in the southern part of the North Sea and the Mediterranean.
The energy major has also agreed to long-term charter a 3,000-m3 LNG bunker barge being built for a Victrol/CFT joint venture to fuel European LNG-powered inland waterway vessels from a base in Rotterdam.
Finally, Shell is partnering Keppel Offshore & Marine in FueLNG, a joint venture which ordered, in June 2018, what will be Singapore’s first LNGBV. The 7,500-m3 gas carrier is under construction at the Keppel Singmarine yard at Nantong in China, with a target completion date of Q3 2020.
The 4,000-m3 LNG ATB for charter to Shell has been designed by VT Halter Marine, a company of VT Systems, and is being built to ABS class. The proposed 8,000-m3 ATB will be a scaled-up version of the smaller bunker vessel, with the same design features.
Wärtsilä is providing the barge unit on the 4,000-m3 ATB, to be named Q-LNG 4000, with a cargo storage, handling and control system and will also supply the barge automation, power management and ballast water management systems and bow thruster. The tug, Q-Ocean Service, will feature Wärtsilä main propulsion steerable thrusters and shaft lines as well as the company’s automation and NACOS Platinum dynamic positioning systems.