Qatar’s big gasser

World’s largest LNG carrier ready for its debut
Qatar Gas’ first Q-Max vessel is part of wider contract with Samsung Heavy
Mike Grinter, 8 July 2008 Lloyds List

QATAR Gas’ first Q-Max liquefied natural gas vessel, Mozah, was waiting alongside at Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje Island yesterday in anticipation of its naming on July 11.

With a capacity of 266,000 cu m, an overall length of 345 m, breadth of 53.8 m and a height of 34.71 m, it is the largest LNG carrier in the world.

But the vessel is just a bit-part player in the Qatar Gas project. As part of a multi-billion dollar contract, Samsung Heavy Industries is in the throes of delivering another 10 Q-Max ships, with a further three coming from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering.

Seven of the smaller 210,000 cu m -216,000 cu m, Q-Flex ships have or are being delivered from the SHI yard, while DSME has been contracted for 18 of the vessels.

Mozah is as sophisticated as its smaller sisters. Custom-built for trade between Qatar and the UK and the US, the ship is equipped with twin engines and shafts for maximum propulsion and, equally important, vibration reduction.

Mozah is equipped with slow-speed diesel engines that are more thermally efficient than traditional steam turbines, burning less fuel and reducing emissions by 30%.

The onboard cargo reliquefaction plants return cargo boil-off to the tanks to ensure full cargo delivery at the discharge port. Traditional LNG carriers typically burn off 0.15% of a cargo each day.

In many ways, Mozah is state of the art but during the 16 months it has been under construction the world has moved on relentlessly.

Contracted at a little under $300m three years ago, if the vessel was ordered today it would cost a cool $400m, according to SHI’s executive vice-president of project planning CH Park.

Expensive maybe, but such an innovative project brought its challenges. “First and foremost,” said Mr Park, “was the unprecedented size. We had to go through a great deal of trial and error regarding the liquid motion in the tanks before going for five tanks rather than the traditional four found in most conventional LNG carriers”.

Even so, it was still necessary for SHI to jointly develop a system that would strengthen the hull of the containment system invented by France’s GTT by 30%.

SHI is reasonably confident that 300,000 cu m is the maximum requirement for a vessel of this type for the foreseeable future.

Pictured are the Q Flex, smaller than the new Q Max.

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