Dragons for wealth and success in gas transportation

Even though the global economic situation appears gloomy, Evergas, a Danish transporter of petrochemical gases and natural gas liquids, is actively expanding its fleet. Wärtsilä is delivering engine and propulsion packages, LNG fuel systems and cargo handling plant for a series of 27,500 cbm LNG-fuelled LNG/ethane carriers.


The Evergas fleet is being given a comprehensive facelift. The company has eight semi-refrigerated 12,000 cubic metre (cbm) liquid ethane carriers under construction and recently took delivery of six fully-pressurised 5000 cbm vessels. At the beginning of 2013, Evergas signed a 15-year shipping agreement with INEOS Europe for transporting ethane from the US Mariner East project to Europe. This long-term charter involves the construction and operation of a series of purpose-built 27,500 cbm LNG carriers that will transport ethane from Marcus Hook in the US to Rafnes in Norway.

The new state-of-the-art vessels are being designed and constructed by Sinopacific Offshore & Engineering Co Ltd (SOE) in Qidong, China. Privately-owned SOE is a global operator in the gas and oil sector and has a long-term relationship with Evergas. SOE’s production facilities cover an area of 160,000 square metres and are located along the Yangtze River close to Shanghai. With its specially designed workshops and outfitting quay, the company’s shipbuilding facilities are among the most modern in China.


Delivery of the 27,500 cbm LNG carriers is scheduled for 2015. The shipyard and Evergas has given the vessels the name Dragon - symbolising strength, wisdom, wealth and good luck - because the contract for their construction was signed at the end of the Chinese Year of the Dragon. The preceding series of SOE newbuildings was named Tiger.

“The Dragons will have a length of 178 metres long and a breadth of 26.6 metres, with a draught of about 9 metres,” says Göran Österdahl, General Manager, Wärtsilä Ship Power Sales, Europe & Africa. “They will be the world’s largest ethane carries in their class. In addition to ethane, they will be suitable for transporting other liquefied gases such as LNG and LPG.”


“SOE’s cooperation with Wärtsilä involves the supply and installation of dual-fuel engines, LNG fuel systems and gas plant on these vessels,” says Österdahl. “This contract is the first case in which  Wärtsilä Oil & Gas (formerly Hamworthy) is collaborating with Wärtsilä’s other business units under the Wärtsilä name.”

The Hamworthy group, whose specialities include designing cargo tanks for liquefied pressurised gases, onboard cargo handling systems, compressors, pumps, inert gas system valves, pump systems and water systems, was acquired by Wärtsilä in January 2012. Hamworthy products and systems represent a valuable addition to the Wärtsilä offering, complementing and significantly extending the company’s portfolio of innovative and market leading products.

“The decision to acquire Hamworthy  is clear evidence of Wärtsilä’s commitment to the oil and gas sector and our intention of becoming much more than just an engine provider,” says Kjell Ove Ulstein, Business Development Manager, Wärtsilä Oil & Gas, who joined Wärtsilä from Hamworthy. “We are now utilising the combined expertise of Wärtsilä Ship Power, Wärtsilä Power Plants and Wärtsilä Oil & Gas in our offering to the oil and gas markets.”


For each Dragon, Wärtsilä’s traditional scope of supply consists of an engine and propulsion package including two 6-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel main engines with an individual power output of 5850 kW, a Wärtsilä TCH350 gearbox (a ‘twin-in-single-out’ design which allows two engines to be connected to a single propeller), two shaft generators, a 6.6-metre Controllable Pitch Propeller (CPP), a shaft line with bearings and seals, a Wärtsilä Propulsion Control System, an Energopac High Efficiency Rudder integrated with the propeller and two 6-cyliner in-line Wärtsilä 20DF dual-fuel auxiliary generating sets.


“What is innovative in these vessels is that two engines rather than one drive the propeller, providing additional redundancy,” says Jens Karlsson, General Manager, Ship Power Sales, Wärtsilä Danmark. “As well as improving operational flexibility, this arrangement reduces emission levels. The two shaft generators also allow the use of auxiliary engines to be reduced when the vessel is sailing, optimising fuel consumption and reducing environmental impact.”


Wärtsilä Oil & Gas is supplying both the cargo handling design and the cargo handling plant including a reliquefaction plant for  ethane, LPG and other petrochemical gases, Wärtsilä Cargo Pumps, boil-off gas compressors, an LNG Fuel System, a Cargo Control System and an Energy Recovery System.

“Another energy-saving solution on the Dragons is our Energy Recovery System,” says Ulstein. The cold energy released when LNG is vaporised for use as fuel is utilised in the reliquefaction plant to cool the vessel’s cargo, a system patented by Wärtsilä Oil & Gas. The resulting reductions in energy use represent savings amounting to thousands of dollars a day. When the vessels are transporting LNG, boil-off gas from the cargo tanks can be used to fuel the engines.”


Following delivery of the equipment, cooperation between Wärtsilä and SOE will continue until the Dragons are launched. Wärtsilä engineers will be supervising equipment installation to ensure that the integrated technology operates smoothly.

The Dragons are expected to have an important role in Wärtsilä’s future business. With their large carrying capacity, these king-size vessels in their segment provide Wärtsilä with an excellent reference demonstrating the company’s ability to deliver integrated solutions to the oil and gas sector. Demand for LNG-fuelled gas carriers is growing in parallel with the development of port-based LNG bunkering and distribution infrastructure. The first facilities for serving vessels powered by LNG are expected to be constructed at the largest ports along the US coastline, in northern Europe and in China.

Martin Ackermann, CEO of Evergas says, “We have enjoyed a lengthy and trusted relationship with Wärtsilä. This, together with Wärtsilä’s relentless efforts in understanding and adapting to our demands, has enabled us to successfully achieve a total integrated solution. I am convinced that our DRAGON 27500 series will be a benchmark in the LNG carrier markets.”

LNG Carriers

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