ABS Classes Largest LNG-Fueled Ethane Carrier

Image courtesy Borealis

By The Maritime Executive 2016-09-01 21:05:20

On Thursday, the American Bureau of Shipping confirmed that the largest dual fueled ethane/ethylene carrier in the world, the ABS-classed Navigator Aurora, was delivered by Jiangnan Shipyard for Navigator Gas on August 2.

The Aurora is the lead vessel in a class of four ships built to export natural gas liquids from shale gas plays in the United States, ABS says. She will be chartered to European petrochemical firm Borealis for the new USEC-Europe ethane trade. 

In addition to being the largest ethane carrier capable of running on LNG, the Aurura is also unique in that she is:

- the largest ethane/ethylene capable carrier in the world at 20,000 dwt

- equipped with "the most fuel efficient 2-stroke engine on the market [with] a high pressure gas injection system"

- in "very advanced" stages of being equipped to burn ethane cargo as an additional fuel source. 

Navigator Gas said in a statement that the ability to burn ethane "has only been possible on a [small] number of vessels in the past."

“In the coming years, we expect to see many more projects being developed to service the expanding gas export market from the United States,” says ABS Vice President of Global Gas Solutions Patrick Janssens. 

ABS highlighted its experience with American maritime regulations and its long history in gas transport, which includes the classification of the world's first LNG carrier, the Methane Pioneer, in 1959. 

The Aurora is set to begin commercial operations by the end of this year, ferrying Marcellus Shale ethane from Sunoco's Marcus Hook terminal in Pennsylvania to Borealis’ facility in Stenungsund, Sweden.

Switzerland-based petchem firm Ineos is building out a fleet of eight ethane carriers to run a parallel route from Sunoco's terminal to Ineos' ethylene plants in Norway and Scotland.