In October, a landmark transfer of LNG took place at the Norwegian port of Herøya, from the 15,600 m3 small-scale LNG carrier Coral Energy to the terminal on shore, using the Universal Transfer System (UTS).
The first transfer to use this technology was developed between Trelleborg, Connect LNG and Gas Natural Fenosa. Trelleborg describes the UTS as the first full-scale market-ready floating solution for LNG transfer between ship and shore.
UTS is a plug-and-play solution that requires no modifications to the LNG carrier and removes the need for costly, environmentally intensive dedicated harbour and jetty structures.
This addresses the infrastructure challenge that hinders LNG market growth. Although demand is growing and gas is available, the cost of developing transfer infrastructure can cut the feasibility of power generation and terminal projects.
The UTS brings the infrastructure to the carrier, reducing the need for extra construction and enabling transfer in waters that are too shallow for carriers or too deep to build a jetty.
Gas Natural Fenosa and Connect LNG have formed a strategic partnership to market the UTS, which “enables ports with shallow drafts to import LNG cargoes”, says Connect LNG managing director Morten Christophersen. “It means the limit is the draft of the LNG-carrying vessel.”
Connect LNG selected Cryoline LNG hoses from Trelleborg’s oil and marine operation, which are attached to a floating platform designed to manoeuvre offshore to meet a vessel, rather than requiring it to moor at shore.
The inner cryogenic hose has multiple layers of polymeric film and woven fabric, all encapsulated between two stainless steel wire helices – one internal and one external. The film layers provide an impermeable barrier while the mechanical strength of the hose comes from the fabric.
The outer protective hose uses flexible rubber-bonded technology for high resistance to fatigue and harsh environments. The hoses incorporate fibre-optic technology to measure temperature in real time during cooldown to the necessary temperature to received LNG, and while excess liquefied gas is flushed from the hose at the end of a transfer.
Monitoring the temperature throughout the hose minimises boil-off, making sure gas is only transferred when the hose is cold enough, giving the operators confidence that a safe transfer has occurred.
Trelleborg’s marine systems operation also supplied its industry-leading USL 8810, which allows a single operator to monitor and control the transfer process, keeping measurements within safe criteria. This also allows for a safe, automatic shutdown if need be.
A triple fibre optic, five pin SIGTTO and pneumatic system also enables all-round flexibility for the platform for any visiting vessel.
To absord berthing impact against the larger LNG vessel before attachment, the UTS employs Trelleborg’s marine systems operation’s Sea Guard fenders at its front, which the company says have a durable, non-marking finish and low maintenance.
Profiled sections at the rear of the UTS, to the left and right of the hose reels, allow tugs to push it from shore to the operating location, where the LNG ship moors. Super Cone fenders reduce the impact of these manoeuvring vessels on the UTS.