Marine classification services provider ABS has entered into a joint development project with South Korea's Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) to develop the first drillship fueled by liquefied natural gas.
The project will address safely storing and handling cryogenic LNG by combining DSME's experience developing and applying LNG technology to floating structures with ABS' technical standards and experience working on LNG and regasification units.
"This project builds on years of collaboration between ABS and DSME to evaluate innovative design concepts and new approaches that serve the needs of our clients and feature enhanced safety and efficiency standards," said Hoseong Lee, ABS vice president, global Korea business development with the ABS Korea Energy Technology Centre in Busan.
"We are targeting the Gulf of Mexico as a key market for an LNG-fueled drillship where, given the abundance of affordable shale gas resources in the US, LNG as a marine fuel makes good economic sense."
To initiate the project, DSME has performed a concept design, comparison between two types of LNG storage tanks and analysis of the fuel gas supply system that will be installed on the drillship.
ABS' scope of work calls for concept design review, basic engineering review and a risk assessment of the tank space and access area, fuel gas supply system, machinery space and access area and associated configurations.
"Many North American vessel owners and operators are making the switch to LNG to achieve substantial operating savings by reducing fuel consumption and lowering emissions to meet the strict sulfur requirements in the North American Emissions Control Area," said ABS executive vice president, energy development Ken Richardson. "ABS already has taken the critical first step to develop guidance that addresses the first application of LNG technology on US-flagged support vessels for Gulf of Mexico operations.
"An LNG-fueled drillship is another groundbreaking concept that illustrates how deep-water applications are evolving."
DSME chief technology officer Sung Geun Lee said his company is "pleased to collaborate on this first-of-its-kind offshore structure leveraging our cutting-edge technologies and coupling these with ABS' experience validating new floating concepts".