Combatting energy insecurity with FSRUs
The current geopolitical crisis has intensified the need for new energy sources. Eastern and Central Europe are particularly impacted, as most of their natural gas for heating, energy generation and other uses was supplied previously by pipeline – mainly from Russia – and must be replaced.
Surging demand for FSRUs
The global prioritization of energy security has led to increased interest in liquefied natural gas (LNG) which is a more flexible solution than pipelines. To enable widespread LNG supply in Europe, floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) are being deployed at an accelerated pace.
Half of the vessels that make up the current FSRU fleet are less than 10 years old and countries previously considering plans have accelerated them in recent months. Building new LNG import terminals is a priority in Europe, and FSRU projects are developing all over the continent. However, deployment will take time and key infrastructure must be installed now to support these units. This includes specialized equipment and items, such as a jetty for berthing and mooring equipment and import terminals or onshore gas pipelines.
Key considerations for FSRUs
Several LNG carriers (LNGCs) could be considered for conversion to FSRUs to help bolster gas supply in coming years. However, the gap between these vessel’s capacities and the latest project requirements may lead operators to investigate new build options, which come with their own set of challenges.
Market conditions, including costs, logistics and supply of raw materials, directly impact the price of new FSRUs, as well as turn-around times.
Currently, the preferred storage system for LNG is membrane tanks, due to its advantages including capacity/overall volume ratio. These, however, can only be built in certain shipyards, and are thus reliant on shipyard availability which is currently at saturation point with long delivery times. Increasingly, therefore, alternative containment system technologies are being considered.
On the other hand, new build FSRU projects also offer unique advantages to stakeholders. Owners can define the required LNG storage and send-out capacity of their project and build the FSRU to these exact specifications. New vessels have lower maintenance costs, providing potential reductions in OPEX expenditure.
Bureau Veritas’ relevant Rule Notes for FSRUs
- NR 467 – Rules for the Classification of Steel Ships
- NR 493 – Rules for the Classification of mooring systems for permanent offshore units
- NR 542 – Classification of floating gas units
- NR 645 – Rules for the Classification of Floating Storage Regasification Units and Floating Storage Units
- NR 686 – Rules for the design and certification of membrane type LNG cargo containment system
- NI 554 – Design Sloshing Loads to be Applied on the Cargo Containment System and the Inner Hull Structure
- NI 564 – Strength Assessment of LNG Membrane Tanks under Sloshing Loads
Bolstering new build FRSU projects
Bureau Veritas is a classification partner with a long history of experience throughout the gas value chain. As forerunning partners for the first regasification vessels, we remain ready to support new build or conversion projects. Most recently we have been chosen as Class for Excelerate’s latest new FSRU on order, set to be delivered in 2026.
We collaborate with gas producers, shipowners, charterers and terminal operators to support their projects. BV has a dedicated rule note for FSRUs and can conduct sloshing, seakeeping and mooring, and hull resistance studies. We are currently classing one third of existing FSRUs.