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Advances in LNG carrier propulsion systems are driving changes in cargo containment

systems as is the extension of the LNG supply chain upstream into floating LNG (FLNG)
production and, downstream, into small-scale LNG and LNG bunkering.
As membrane tanks offer most scope for fine-tuning, it is not surprising that the most notable
cargo containment system changes in recent years have been those introduced by
Gaztransport & Technigaz (GTT) with its generic Mark III and No 96 technologies.
The signing last week of a co-operation agreement by GTT and Daewoo Shipbuilding &
Marine Engineering (DSME) covering the industrialisation of the French engineering
companys new No 96 Max concept is the latest step in GTTs drive to provide containment
systems that suit the needs of todays LNG industry.
No 96 Max promises further reductions in cargo boil-off gas (BOG) rates and improved
mechanical performance compared to existing No 96 systems. Under the GTT/DSME
agreement the Korean shipbuilder will build a mock-up to validate the assembly and
cryogenic performance of the membrane containment system and to work out how to
optimise the manufacturing costs. They aim to commercialise the No 96 Max system by yearend.

Building on success
GTT is the leading provider of cargo containment systems for LNGCs. Some 71 per cent of
the global fleet of approximately 450 vessels is fitted with GTT membranes and 90 per cent
of the LNGCs ordered in 2008-2015 were specified with GTT systems. Those in service and
on order are evenly split between the Mark III and No 96 containment systems.
The BOG rate for the Mark III and No 96 systems is 0.15 per cent of the cargo volume per
day. That is in excess of what modern medium and low-speed dual-fuel propulsion systems
need to burn. Ships with these efficient power plants must either dump surplus BOG to a gascombustion unit or reliquefy it and return it to the cargo tanks as LNG. The first option is
wasteful and the second expensive.
Another driver for improved propulsion system efficiencies in recent years has been the trend
towards more spot cargo deliveries. Because of the large fleet of competing LNG vessels
available to charterers for their short-term work, and the resultant dismal freight rates now
being paid, shipowners are seeking every opportunity to reduce voyage costs.
GTT has responded to the advances in LNGC propulsion systems with refinements to its
Mark III and No 96 technologies. The upgrade has also noted the need for reinforced
membrane tanks to minimise the risk of cargo containment system damage.
Membrane tanks, with their unobstructed internal spaces and large liquid surface areas, are
prone to substantial cargo sloshing loads while the ship is proceeding in a seaway. Sloshing
damage and subsequent expensive repairs to a handful of newbuilding LNGCs with
membrane tanks a decade ago highlighted the problem.

Since then, GTT has worked with its licensed shipbuilders to improve the mechanical
integrity of its membranes. The effort has been given added impetus by the industrys
growing use of floating storage and regasification units (FSRUs) and, now, of floating LNG
(FLNG) vessels.
Floaters need extra membrane containment system reinforcement to cope with the variable
tank fill levels they encounter.

Membrane evolution
GTTs Mark III and No 96 membrane tank technologies were established at the birth of the
LNG shipping industry. The earliest version of No 96, known as No 82, was fitted on the
1969-built, 71,500m3 Polar Alaska and the two subsequent upgrades, No 85 and No 88, first
saw the light of day on the 1976-built, 122,000m3 LNG Lagos and on the 1981-built,
130,000m3 Tenaga Lima.
All the systems in the No 96 series feature distinctive primary and secondary barriers of invar
high nickel steel alloy. The first ship built to the No 96 design proper was the 130,000m3
Puteri Intan, completed in 1994.
The original Mark III technology was known as Mark I and the first commercial LNGC built
to this design was the 50,000m3 Descartes, delivered in 1971. The Mark III system made its
initial appearance in 1993, on board the 18,800m3 Aman Bintulu.
No 96 GW is the first of the recent designs to advance the No 96 technology. The option has
been fitted on four ships to date, starting with the 160,000m3 Woodside Rogers, delivered in
September 2013, and specified for 47 LNGCs on order.
With No 96 GW glass wool replaces perlite as the insulation material in the systems primary
and secondary insulation boxes. The design provides a BOG rate of 0.125-0.13 per cent/day.
The next step for GTT in its No 96 evolution was No 96 LO3, a design characterised by three
layers of insulation. The first two layers of boxes use glass wool insulation but the third box
utilises reinforced polyurethane foam (RPUF).
The first LNGC fitted with a No 96 LO3 membrane tank system was the 160,000m3 Maran
Gas Delphi, delivered in February 2014. Since then, nine No 96 LO3 ships have been
commissioned and four are on order. Service records to date indicate BOG rates of 0.105 0.11 per cent.
GTT has also been advancing its Mark III technology in a similar BOG rate reduction
programme. The initial step was its Mark III Flex system, first utilised on the 160,000m3
Golar Celsius, completed in October 2013. Twenty-three Mark III Flex ships are now in
service and 40 are on order, including Clean Jacksonville, a 2,200m3, non-propelled LNG
bunker barge being built in the US.
A typical BOG rate for a conventional size Mark III Flex LNGC, with its RPUF insulation, is
0.085 - 0.09 per cent. This is achieved by boosting the thickness of the systems secondary

insulation box by 130mm, from 170mm to 300mm. The thickness of the primary insulation
box remains the same, at 100mm.
The latest advance in the Mark III series, mirroring the introduction of the new No 96 Max
offering in the No 96 domain, is Mark V. Retaining the original Mark III waffled stainless
steel primary barrier, Mark V features an invar secondary barrier rather than the traditional
Triplex composite liner. GTT claims that the Mark V systems RPUF insulation, of up to
480mm in thickness, provides a BOG rate of less than 0.07 per cent/day.
GTT has commercialised the Mark V design in co-operation with Samsung Heavy Industries
(SHI) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and the new system is now available for use.
The No 96 Max technology, which GTT and DSME are finalising, again features invar
primary and secondary barriers and the insulation boxes are the same thickness as the No 96
equivalents.
However, the plywood bearing structure of the boxes is denser than that of the No 96 boxes
and the boxes themselves feature internal pillars rather than bulkheads. GTT promises BOG
rates of 0.09 per cent for No 96 Max and 0.075 for the next phase of its No 96 evolution.