The LNG carriers transforming Greece’s fleet
George Kourelis, Chief Operating Officer of TMS Cardiff Gas Ltd., discusses Greece’s developing LNG fleet with Carlos Guerrero, Bureau Veritas’ Global Market Leader for Gas Carriers and Oil Tankers.
CG: How has Greece been developing as an LNG hub?
GK: Greece is on its way to becoming a regional LNG hub, receiving LNG cargoes from multiple sources and routes, thanks to its excellent geographical position. We’ve seen a spectacular increase in Greek-owned LNG carriers, with new and major players adding LNG-powered vessels to their fleets every year.
CG: How has your LNG carrier fleet grown in recent years?
GK: We built our first BV-classed LNG carrier in 2014 with Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co. (DSME). In 2018 we signed newbuilding contracts for three LNG carriers with Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), to be classed by Bureau Veritas. The first vessel was delivered at the end of February, and the remaining two are expected for delivery in the final quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.
CG: Why did TMS Cardiff Gas choose to build LNG carriers?
GK: We have a strong conviction that LNG is the fuel of the future. LNG is a sustainable fuel found abundantly in nature, and we believe it will play a foundational role in decarbonizing the shipping industry and facilitating the energy transition.
CG: What technical challenges did you face in developing these vessels?
GK: LNG carriers are essentially floating factories filled with highly sophisticated equipment, and the primary technical challenges come from the specialized cargo containment system.
Firstly, containment systems must be made of light material, while still withstanding heavy internal and external loads. Secondly, managing the boil-off from LNG requires a system that can safely liquefy the gas and return it to the tank. Thirdly, LNG must be kept at a very low temperature; containment systems must be safe and reliable at atmospheric pressures as low as -162º C.
CG: How was Bureau Veritas able to support you in developing LNG carriers?
GK: TMS Cardiff Gas has a longstanding collaboration with Bureau Veritas. We count on their extensive expertise in LNG shipping and high quality classification services to build these crucial vessels. In addition, we appreciate Bureau Veritas’ digital sophistication. The Veristar Project Management platform is an invaluable tool for our technical department, ensuring our access to a complete database of vessel and equipment drawings.