The Bigger the Ships, the Fewer the Trips



The World is comprised of vast area with an enormous place and the people living there is in dire need of fuels like natural gas for power plants, fuelling industrial complexes and for domestic everyday activities such as heating and cooking, live far away from the reserve to supply.  Because many markets are far from the resource or lack a cost-competitive pipeline infrastructure, LNG is the preferred method of distribution.  This eventually poses a challenge for the oil and gas industry as how economically and efficiently transport natural gas a very long distance from the source to the consumer.

Key points on LNG  

  • LNG is natural gas that has been converted to a liquid by super cooling it to -260°F (-162°C). This process also reduces it to 1/600th of its original volume.
  • LNG is the same as pipeline natural gas, except cooled and liquefied for transport.  Once it’s in liquid form, it is clear, odourless and ready to be transported via specialized tankers that are designed like large thermoses to keep the LNG cold during shipment.
  • Once it reaches the market location, the LNG is warmed and re-gasified to a vapour state.

Qatar Petroleum and joint venture partners, including ExxonMobil, combined forces assisted to build some of the world’s largest LNG tankers—the Q-Max and the slightly smaller Q-Flex ships. The Q-Max and Q-Flex diesel engines also release 30 percent less emissions than conventional steam LNG carriers.

Highlights of Q-Max ships

  • The height will be that of a 20-story building and length would be as long as three American football fields.
  • Q-Max tankers overshadow their peers in breadth and girth.
  • Their energy efficiency and carrying capacity is where these next-generation tankers stand out.
  • They consume 40 percent less energy per unit of cargo than traditional LNG ships, yet carry 80 percent more cargo.
  • This also reduces shipping costs, bringing the benefits of cleaner burning natural gas to more consumers.
  • The Q- Max, one of the world’s largest LNG tankers, is nearly twice the size of the very first LNG carrier, the Methane Princess.

Q-Flex ships

The Q-Flex tankers are smaller, so they are acceptable in more harbours—but they still carry 50 percent more cargo and consume 40 percent less energy than conventional LNG carriers.

With global demand for natural gas estimated to increase by 50 percent between now and 2040, there is a critical need for energy-efficient ships such as the Q-vessels that can connect the world’s natural gas producers with growing markets. The equation driving the development of the Q-vessels is simple but truly impressive: the bigger the ships, the fewer the trips.

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Source: Energy Factor – by ExxonMobil