(HOUSTON) — The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), a leading provider of classification and technical services to the marine and offshore industries, has announced that the ABS-classed Ethane Crystal, the world’s first very large ethane carrier (VLEC), has been delivered to India’s Reliance Industries Ltd. by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) of South Korea.
Ethane Crystal is the first of six VLECs to be delivered with ABS class through 2017. This state-of-the-art liquefied gas carrier is able to carry cargoes such as ethane and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). With an 87,000-cbm cargo carrying capacity, the vessel is the first of its kind to be constructed with a specially designed GTT Mark III membrane cargo containment system. The vessel represents a significant step up from the largest ethane carriers delivered to date — the 37,000-cbm ABS-classed Navigator Aurora and Navigator Eclipse. The VLEC is comparable in size to today’s very large gas carrier (VLGC) and supports a more efficient operation that helps make large-scale ethane transportation more economically viable.
“Delivering the Ethane Crystal is truly a landmark achievement that has created an entirely new market of shipping liquefied ethane. It is a testament to all stakeholders involved in bringing the project to fruition,” said ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. “ABS is proud to have been chosen to class this vessel and to be included as a trusted technical advisor, working alongside the owners, shipyard, designer and port and flag state teams to advance safety throughout the development of the world’s largest, purpose-built ethane carrier.”
Demand for this vessel and others currently on order is driven by the surplus of ethane produced as a byproduct of shale oil and gas in North America. The Ethane Crystal is intended for trade routes between North America and India, carrying ethane that will be used as feedstock for petrochemical production.
Recognizing the changing landscape and increased industry focus on gas, ABS launched its Global Gas Solutions team in 2013 to support industry in developing gas-related projects. A pioneer in classification for the safe transport and handling of gas, ABS classed the world’s first LNG carrier conversion, Methane Pioneer, in 1959 as well as the first newbuild LNG carrier, Methane Princess, in 1964 and has extensive experience with the full scope of gas-related assets, including many of the most advanced carriers in service.