Q-Max LNGC – A New Breed of Liquefied Natural Gas Carriers

Mike Schuler
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December 18, 2008

Q-Max LNG Tankers

Yesterday, Exxon Mobil announced that it received delivery of the first two Q-Max LNG Tankers, the Mozah and Umm Slal.   The vessels are a new breed of LNGC tankers that are being considered as an industry breakthrough in size and design. The tankers will enable more efficient transport of natural gas throughout the world. A press release from Exxon states:

The recent completion of the world’s first Q-Max LNG carrier, named ‘Mozah,’ marks a step change in LNG shipping by reducing transportation cost, while improving energy efficiency and reducing emissions. The innovative Q-Max ships carry up to 80 percent more cargo, yet require approximately 40 percent less energy per unit of cargo than conventional LNG carriers due to economies of scale and efficiency of the engines.

“The Q-Max carriers break the LNG shipping mold in nearly every way,” said Neil Duffin, President, ExxonMobil Development Company. “The same technology capability that drove us to develop a new class of LNG carrier is driving innovation in all aspects of the LNG value chain.”

The large LNG ship technologies, developed in conjunction with joint venture partner Qatar Petroleum, include a number of industry breakthroughs and significant enhancements, including increased ship size, onboard reliquefaction units, slow-speed diesel engines, twin propellers and rudders, largest ship-board LNG tanks everbuilt, the latest in hull antifouling protection and improved fire-protection systems. The end result of these new generation ships is a 20-30 percent reduction in transportation cost.

Q-Max carriers are longer than three football fields, tower twenty stories tall from keel to masthead and are equipped with the largest membrane containment tanks ever built. With a total capacity of up to 266,000 cubic meters, each ship carries enough natural gas to meet the energy needs of 70,000 U.S. homes for one year.

Exxon ordered a total of seven Q-Max vessels with the rest expected to be delivered in 2009.

Credits: BusinessWire, ExxonMobile

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