Houston-based American Ethane Company has unveiled plans to build 17 very large ethane carriers (VLECs) to transport U.S. ethane to China.
The 150,000 cbm capacity VLECs will be constructed in China at shipyard in Hudong-Zhonghua and Jiangnan.
American Ethane collaborated with ABS on technical and regulatory requirements for the VLECs that will supply ethane from the U.S. Gulf Coast to a number of petrochemical facilities in China.
With a capacity of around 150,000 cubic meters each, the gas carriers will be among the biggest and most advanced ethane carriers ever constructed.
“The American Ethane Company highly appreciates ABS’ contribution to developing a new class of 150,000m³ ethane carriers. The joint effort between China Merchant Group, AEC and ABS means this vessel has incorporated modern technologies such as cargo containment systems, ethane propulsion, and hull design and brings logistics efficiency and cost savings to long-term ethane shipping between the USA and Asia. Approval in Principal of this design by ABS is the first step to further innovations in the industry,” said AEC CEO John Houghtaling.
ABS has experience in the VLEC sector having classed six 87,000m³ constructed at Samsung Heavy Industries Reliance Industries. Six more 98,000m³ VLECs are currently on order to ABS class.
“ABS is a world leader in the classification of gas carriers and classes the majority of the large ethane carriers built to date, so it is exciting to be working so closely with AEC, which has done so much to advance the industry,” said Patrick Janssens, ABS Vice President of Global Gas Solutions. “ABS has a proud track record of supporting some of the biggest and most advanced gas carrier projects with a focus on safety and innovation, and this groundbreaking project is the next step in continuing that trend.”