Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder, is emerging as a key player in the global market for liquefied natural gas carriers and LNG offshore plants.
The company completed the world’s first LNG floating storage regasification unit, or LNG FSRU, in February this year.
Named “Independence,” the newly built offshore plant can store up to 70,000 tons of natural gas in its liquid form, which is then regasified before being supplied to various facilities via onshore pipelines. The unit will shortly be delivered to the shore of Lithuania, the company stated.
The primary advantage of these offshore units is that when compared with the LNG supply depots on land, they can be constructed much faster at roughly half the cost, according to the shipbuilder.
Two years or so of research has allowed Hyundai Heavy to create an exclusive and unique design for its LNG FSRUs while also minimizing the occasional operational loss from periodic maintenance.
It plans to build four of these offshore units for Norway’s Hoegh LNG, the company said.
In addition to the offshore facilities, Hyundai Heavy is also the first shipbuilder in Korea to produce an LNG carrier.
In 1991, the company won its first LNG carrier order from Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. for a 125,000-cubic meter moss-type vessel and completed it in June 1994 after three years.
Dubbed the Hyundai Utopia, it was also nominated as the best vessel built that year by prominent U.S. journals the Maritime Reporter and the Marine Log.
Since then, Hyundai Heavy has obtained a total of 78 orders for LNG carriers and delivered 44 of them. It currently has a backlog of 34 vessels.
Its most recent contract involves building four moss-type LNG carriers of 150,000 cubic meters each for Petronas, Malaysia’s national oil and gas company.
The moss-type vessels are more costly than the membrane type yet are popular for their exceptional safety, according to the company.
Hyundai Heavy is the only domestic shipbuilder that possesses the first-rate technology to manufacture both types of carriers, boosting its competitiveness in Asia as well as at the global level.
Moreover, the company also leads the field in research and development.
In January 2012, Hyundai Heavy built its first LNG floating production storage and offloading facility, a production plant on the sea that can produce up to 2.5 million tons of LNG a year.
At the moment, the shipbuilder is concentrating its efforts on developing better storage containers. Its recent developments utilize metals instead of typical adhesives to form a double barrier that helps prevent gas leaks.
Hyundai Heavy is exhibiting some of its latest models at the 2014 Gastech conference.
By Kim Joo-hyun (email@example.com