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SK E&S Set to Launch Korea's First Private-Sector LNG Carrier
For Transportation of U.S. Shale Gas
SK E&S Set to Launch Korea's First Private-Sector LNG Carrier
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • April 18, 2019, 12:05
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An SK E&S LNG carrier in test operation

SK E&S unveiled its liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier at a shipyard of Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, Korea on April 17. The vessel is the first LNG tanker to be launched by a private company in Korea. It will be used to transport shale gas from the United States.

SK E&S completed the construction of two ships –- the Prism Agility and the Prism Brilliance. They will be christened and set out at the end of April. At present, 27 Korean LNG carriers are transporting LNG for state-run Korea Gas Corp. (KOGAS).

The two vessels underwent a three-year construction process that began from a charter agreement with SK Shipping in May 2016. They will transport U.S. shale gas through Freeport LNG Liquefaction Terminal in the Gulf of Mexico starting in the first half of 2020.

They are membrane-type vessels, 299 meters long and 48 meters wide. They use natural gas as the main fuel instead of diesel or bunker C oil, and can transport about 75,000 tons of LNG at a time and travel at a speed of 19.5 knots (36 km per hour).

build membrane-type LNG carriers by installing insulation materials and tanks directly on hulls. Thus, membrane-type LNG carriers are able to transport more LNG than other types of the same size, and offer high performance as their physical characteristics minimize the effects of winds.

They also minimize the LNG evaporation rate (loss rate) to 0.085 percent per day by adopting the latest cargo hold technology called GTT Mark III Flex. Loaded with the latest engine with excellent fuel efficiency, they can be monitored from land via a smart ship solution.

SK E&S explained that the construction of the two ships was also meaningful in that it completed the midstream section in its LNG value chain. An LNG value chain is a series of processes to produce and transport natural gas to the final consumption stage and is divided into the upstream stage, which focuses on developing gas fields and producing gas, the midstream stage where gas is liquefied, transported and gasified, and the downstream stage where LNG is delivered to end users such as power stations.

In this connection, in the upstream sector, SK E&S signed a long-term supply contract for natural gas in Tangguh, Indonesia in 2005 and invested in Caldita-Barossa Gas Field in Australia in 2012 and in Woodford Gas Field in the United States in 2014, In the downstream sector, the company is running four power plants nationwide including Gwangyang Natural Gas Power Plant that started operation in 2006, Paju Natural Gas Power Plant, Hanam Cogeneration Power Plant and Wirye Cogeneration Power Plant.