Dunkerque LNG expects first carrier on July 8

June 7, 2016

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In Dunkirk, the first methane tanker for industrial testing with LNG is now scheduled to arrive at the terminal on 8 July. And Dunkerque LNG has prepared its arrival well in advance, as its commercial director, Christophe Liaud, explains:

“On 12 May, we received confirmation from TS LNG that the terminal would be technically ready to welcome its first methane tanker from 28 June. Over a year ago, we contacted the terminal’s two clients, EDF and Total, to find out which of them was willing to have a methane tanker come to the terminal, given that the arrival of the first vessel would be a little unusual as it would be used to complete testing on the terminal and to ensure that everything is in place for the commercial start-up of the terminal, which is scheduled for September,” says Christophe Liaud. “EDF accepted the principle.”

The first ship to dock meets a very precise set of specifications, with several major constraints. The ship will call at the LNG terminal wharf for seven days (rather than the normal 24 hours). As the equipment will still be at ambient temperature, the LNG (at -160°) will need to be unloaded much more slowly than normal so the process gradually enters its ‘cool state’. Proceeding in any other way would mean running the risk of damaging the equipment. Additionally, the LNG load must come from a liquefaction plant and have a sufficiently low pressure. The methane tanker must also be less than 15 years old to ensure it has the specific equipment required for the start-up of the terminal. Last but not least, the client must accept the risk of cancelling the call if the terminal is not in fact ready on the planned date. “It’s a lot of limitations, I know,” smiles Christophe Liaud. “But EDF has managed to find an LNG supplier who can meet these limitations while guaranteeing a competitive price. So the first methane tanker is scheduled to arrive on 8 July.”

As soon as Dunkerque LNG knows the ship’s name, it will have to make sure that it is fully compatible with the terminal (mooring, gangway, etc.), then, in collaboration with Dunkerque Port and its pilotage and tug teams, it will have to agree on the way in which the first methane tanker will be accompanied from off the coast of Calais. “We will also check that the LNG quality is compatible with the terminal,” adds Christophe Liaud. Everything will be in place to receive the first methane tanker and continue with tests throughout the time it is docked.

A second ship will follow in August to complete testing. Commercial start-up is scheduled for September.