India’s largest private sector company Reliance Industries has inaugurated the world’s first Very Large Ethane Carriers (VLECs) at South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries where the ships were built.
The two vessels, named Ethane Crystal and Ethane Emerald, are the first in a series of six VLECs ordered by Reliance in 2014 in response to the increase in United States gas production.
The two vessels will be used to transport liquid ethane from the U.S. to India.
The vessels are the first to feature new membrane technology from French specialist GTT, considered key to the execution of the project. With a capacity of 87,000 m³, the two vessels are the largest ethane carriers built to date.
“We are delighted that SHI and Reliance have placed their trust in GTT to contribute to the building of the world’s largest ethane carriers”, said Philippe Berterottière, GTT’s CEO. “This project demonstrates just how viable GTT’s systems are for transporting types of liquefied gas other than LNG. And it heralds the Group’s arrival on a new market”.
Despite the global slowdown in the shipping industry, Reliance says it sees a consistent supply of ethane coming out the U.S. at competitive prices.
The vessels are designed to transport ethane but can carry other gases such as propane, butane and propylene.
All six ships in the series are being built at SHI’s main shipyard in Geoje, Korea and are classed by ABS.