Samsung Heavy Industries Delivers World’s First Very Large Ethane Carrier

The VLEC Ethane
The VLEC Ethane Crystal. Photo: MOL

Samsung Heavy Industries has delivered the world’s first Very Large Ethane Carrier (VLEC) ‘Ethane Crystal’ to Reliance Industries, an Indian business conglomerate who will use the vessels to ship ethane from United States to India.

The vessel is the first in a series of six VLECs ordered by Reliance at South Korea’s SHI in July 2014 in response to the increase in U.S. gas production. With a capacity of 87,000 m³, they are the largest ethane carriers ever constructed. . 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 vessels use a unique GTT Mark III containment system, a new membrane technology from French specialist GTT.

The six vessels will be operated by Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines. 

Demand for the vessels others like it currently on order is driven by the surplus of ethane produced as a byproduct of shale oil and gas in North America.

Although the vessels designed to mainly transport ethane, they can be used to transport other gases such as propane, butane and propylene. Still that likely won’t be necessary as Reliance has said it anticipates a consistent supply of ethane coming out the U.S. at competitive prices for some time.

All six ships in the series are being built at SHI’s main shipyard in Geoje, Korea and are classed by ABS.

“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,” says ABS Chairman, President and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki.

Ethane Crystal Details:

  • Length? 227.85m
  • Breadth? 36.49m
  • Draft? 11.5m
  • Gross Tonnage? 57,494 tons
  • Cargo tank? GTT Mark III membrane
  • Cargo tank capacity? 87,187.367m3(100%)
  • Main engine? DOOSAN-MAN B&W 6G60ME-C9.5
  • Speed? 16.75 knots
  • Shipyard? Samsung Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. Geoje Shipyard
  • Ship management company? MOL Tankship Management Asia Pte. Ltd. (headquarters: Singapore)