New 'Q-Max' LNG vessel is world's largest

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, July 16 -- Qatar Gas Transport Co. ordered and will operate the first of a new class of super-large LNG vessels, the "Q-Max," having the capacity to carry 266,000 cu m of LNG, almost 80% more cargo than conventional LNG ships.

Christened the Mozah, it has a length of 345 m, a breadth of 53.8 m, and a height of 34.71 m. Designated as "Q-Max"Q for Qatar and Max for the maximum-size ship able to dock at that country's LNG terminalsthe new vessels are expected to spearhead long-haul gas shipping to the US and Europe.

The Lloyd's Register Group is "the classification society of choice" for 9 of the first 10 Q-Max LNG vessels, including the first to be completed. The Q-Max's smaller Q-Flex sister-ships were previously the world's largest LNG carriers.

The Q-Max vessels feature slow-speed diesel engines that are more fuel and thermal-efficient than steam turbines with a 30% reduction in overall emissions. Improved economies of scale inherent in the much larger comparative load capacity also are expected to reduce shipping costs by 30%. Shipping by conventional vessels typically accounts for a third of the LNG price.

"Adoption of new technology after rigorous qualification processes allowed significant economies of scale to be achieved," said Andy Richardson, shipping project manager for Qatargas Operating Co. Ltd. "Redundant, highly efficient propulsion systems and onboard reliquefaction have realized operational efficiencies and a reduction in emissions."

In all, 14 Q-Max and 31 Q-Flex LNG ships have been ordered from the big three Korean shipbuilders by Qatari interests and their partners, 17 of which will be built to Lloyd's Register class.

The world's largest LNG vessel was named Mozah for Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned of Qatar at Samsung Heavy Industry's shipyard on Geoje Island, South Korea.

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