Faults postpone delivery of LNG vessel

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Jan. 24 -- The 75,000 cu m Gas-de-France-Energy LNG carrier, dedicated last November and due for delivery at the end of 2004, is being investigated for faults detected during tests at sea.

Delivery of the ship, built by Alstom Group's Chantiers de l'Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire, France, at a cost of 150 million euros, has been postponed indefinitely.

The secondary protective membrane, which doesn't come in contact with the LNG, has shown signs of leaks, and its materials have behaved abnormally under pressure.

The membrane technology was developed by Gaztransport et Technigaz (GTT), a joint affiliate of Gaz de France, Total, and Italy's Saipem. Its new version, Cryogenic Cargo Containment System, was used for the first time on Gaz-de-France-Energy. Chantiers is using the technology in two 154,000-cu-m LNG carriers ordered by Gaz de France.

The first one, Provalys, is due for delivery at the end of 2005. At this stage, there is no talk of postponement. But GTT has sold its manufacturing license to LNG-carrier builders worldwide, and pinpointing weaknesses in the secondary membrane is a delicate task on a tanker that has been completed and should take some time, according to Gaz de France.

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