KARMOL LNG makes big strides in LNG-to-power projects
Gas-to-power projects are proving an increasingly common energy solution for countries without existing power plant infrastructure. While many in-service powerships burn heavy fuel oil, the marine industry’s growing focus on sustainability has led to greater interest in LNG-to-power projects. By burning liquefied natural gas, powerships can generate cleaner electricity, reducing the environmental impact of entire cities.
A key partnership for LNG-to-power
To bring cleaner energy to countries across Africa, Turkish power producer and shipowner Karadeniz and Japanese shipowner MOL have joined forces. The joint venture – known as KARMOL LNG – began work on a series of vessel conversions in January 2019, turning existing LNG carriers into floating storage and regasification units (FSRU). The first ship, Karmol LNGT Powership Africa, was delivered in March 2021, and is currently being installed off the coast of Senegal. The second vessel, Karmol LNGT Powership Asia, will be delivered in Q3 2021 and will also operate in Africa.
A unique set of regulatory challenges
Conversion projects of this type are still rare in the marine industry, and there are many regulatory challenges to manage before an LNG carrier can become an FSRU. Following an onboard assessment, equipment such as propulsion systems, power sources and life-saving equipment must be safely removed from the vessel. Several other types of equipment must then be installed onboard. These include regasification and power generation modules, mooring systems, and LNG ship-to-ship transfer systems.
Additionally, unlike sea-going ships, FSRUs are intended to stay on location for ten, fifteen or even twenty years, and are therefore not subject to a dry-docking regime. An exemption for this must be sought from the relevant flag administration for LNG-to-power projects.
A classification society with conversion experience
Thanks to longstanding relationships with Karadeniz and MOL, and previous experience in the conversion of LNG carriers, Bureau Veritas was chosen to class these FSRUs. By using our rules for FSRUs (NR 645) and our guidelines for LNG carrier conversion (NI 655), our experts were able to help KARMOL overcome regulatory challenges. We helped ensure that the integration and removal of all onboard systems was compliant with the relevant regulatory framework and flag administration requirements.
Bureau Veritas also provided critical project management throughout the conversion process. We held weekly meetings among our offices in Singapore, France, South Korea and London, and coordinated with client teams in Singapore, the UK, Japan and Turkey.
These conversions were further supported by experts at Bureau Veritas Solutions – Marine & Offshore, a subsidiary of Bureau Veritas Marine & Offshore. Technical experts at BV Solutions M&O conducted CAP and IHM surveys for the vessels, and provided key engineering support for hull and mooring structures.