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Commonwealth LNG touts modular approach, second-mover advantage



Privately held Commonwealth LNG sees its late entrance in a crowded field of US LNG developers as an advantage, with officials saying they can apply lessons learned from the first wave of LNG export projects toward a low-cost approach that will put it ahead of its rivals.

But the LNG facility that the company's export venture in Louisiana most resembles is not among the projects concentrated on the US Gulf Coast -- it's the Yamal LNG plant in Siberia.

As PAO Novatek did in developing Yamal in Russia, Commonwealth LNG plans for offsite construction of its facility's six natural gas liquefaction trains and other major components, the company's controller, Nick Eusepi, said in an interview. The benefit of this modular approach would be a lower cost and faster turnaround time on construction, he said.

"We are basically mirroring the Yamal project," Eusepi said. "The market is tough; the customers and off-takers have fatigue from all the projects, and they are somewhat on the sideline just waiting things out. We think our low-cost, flexible approach does put us ahead of the line, though."






It was only in August that Commonwealth LNG submitted its formal application for a federal permit to build the 8.4 million metric ton/year LNG export terminal and an affiliated feedgas pipeline interconnect in Cameron Parish, Louisiana. The project is competing against some others that already have permits and deals lined up with potential off-takers.

But Commonwealth LNG said the amount of time to build its project -- around three years as opposed to the usual four -- puts it on track to come online in early 2024, when a potential global LNG supply crunch is anticipated.

Commonwealth LNG recently received a notice of environmental review from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that suggested the agency could be ready to make a decision on whether to approve the project by the end of 2020. The company is now targeting a final investment decision in early 2021 (CP19-502).

"We are coming in later, but we are not finishing much later than everyone else," Eusepi said. "We still fall right in the middle of that second wave demand cycle. A little late to the game, but not really late to the game."

The construction approach would use modular LNG facilities developed by TechnipFMC, a designer and builder of LNG projects that worked on Yamal LNG. TechnipFMC signed an engineering service contract with Commonwealth LNG in 2018. Commonwealth LNG has not finalized an engineering, procurement and construction contract. Commonwealth LNG is a subsidiary of an investment vehicle owned by businessman Paul Varello, a veteran of the engineering and construction sector.

In a significant difference from other US LNG projects, Commonwealth LNG's plans call for even the LNG storage tanks to be built away from the project site.

This will allow the developer to build the tanks and do site preparation at the same time, which would be an important innovation in handling a key timeline constraint for LNG projects, said energy analyst Katie Bays, co-founder of research and consulting firm Sandhill Strategy. This could lend predictability in cost and schedule to the project's competitiveness in the race for a final investment decision.

"There is a path for them being able to do that," Bays said. "The big issues are not their model or regulation -- it's financing and the commercial environment. It's roughly the same hurdle for them as it is for every other company that is nothing more than an idea ... Capital is just anemic. And that is a huge risk for basically every project that doesn't have a balance sheet and a huge advantage for all of the projects that do."

Adding to the uncertainty for the LNG sector is the trade war between the US and China, which is expected to be the world's biggest importer of LNG within a decade.

As it stands, Commonwealth LNG could take a final investment decision on the $4.8 billion project if it contracts about 7 million mt/y of the offtake, Eusepi said. The company in June announced the signing of a nonbinding agreement with a subsidiary of global commodity trader Gunvor Group that could lead to a 15-year sale-and-purchase agreement for 1.5 million mt/y of LNG. The deal is Commonwealth LNG's only public commercial commitment.

Bays said the shorter duration of the contracts Commonwealth LNG is marketing, compared with the typical 20-year deals, is another factor that distinguishes the project in the field of independent LNG developers.

The low cost of the project enables Commonwealth LNG to offer these shorter-term deals, Eusepi said.

Other terms of the Gunvor deal, including the price structure or links to gas indexes, were not disclosed. But as the company pursues additional deals, it is not committed to any single pricing structure or index, Eusepi said.

"We've got a little bit signed up so far, but by no means all that we need to to get the project to go," Eusepi said. "But we are confident that we are going to get there, and hopefully, by the end of the year, we have got some more announcements coming out."

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German giant Volkswagen Group said that a naming ceremony for Siem Car Carriers’ LNG-fueled vessels was held at Xiamen Shipbuilding’s yard in China.

The newly named Siem Confucius and Siem Aristotle will be deployed on the so-called America Round Tour from January 2020, from Emden to Mexico via several ports on the east coast of the USA. From there it will return via the US east coast to Emden.

The second ship will start its first major voyage along the 12,000 nautical mile route in spring 2020, VW said in its statement.

Vessels feature two liquified gas tanks with a capacity of 1,800 cubic meters each. That’s enough for a complete round trip, and it ensures a ten percent reserve tank, sufficient for several days.

Both new ships replace two of the nine cargo ships currently employed by Volkswagen on this round trip, which are conventionally powered by heavy oil.

According to the company, the vessels are the largest roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ships with LNG propulsion ever built, and the first to be deployed overseas. So far, only smaller LNG-powered RoRo vessels have been built that are in service on short-sea trades.

The vessels are each 200 meters long and 38 meters wide, which makes them exactly as long, but almost six meters wider than the car carriers previously in service, which only have a width of 32.5 meters. This is due to the space requirements of the liquid gas tanks. They are powered by a 12,600 kW engine developed by MAN Energy Solutions.

Matthias Branka, head of overseas transport management at Volkswagen, said: “We are now gaining experience with the first two LNG ships. Then it will be our goal to increasingly focus on environmentally friendly propulsion systems for the other tenders that are due every five years.

This could be more LNG vessels, which might also in the future be fueled with biogas or other new technologies. Worldwide there are many projects that study alternative ship propulsion and fueling methods.

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Rolls-Royce and VPower Group have signed a deal for the supply of high-efficiency gas power generation equipment of the MTU brand.

Rolls-Royce said on Thursday that the final agreement recently inked in Hong Kong, entailed the supply over 200 MTU Series 4000 natural gas gen-sets with a total power output of 430 MW, starting October 2019.

The fleet will be deployed to support VPower Group’s key business streams of LNG-to-power, flexible generation, distributed, and other fast track power solutions globally.

Earnest Cheung, VPower Group COO, said: “As a leader in decentralized power generation, we place great importance in product safety, efficiency, and reliability. We are happy to strengthen our business cooperation with Rolls-Royce and look forward to stepping up our strategic relationship in the years to come.

Andreas Schell, Rolls-Royce Power Systems CEO, added: “We are pleased to take our long-term partnership with VPower Group to a whole new level by signing the largest single order for MTU gas gen-sets in our company history.

According to the company, the relationship between Rolls-Royce and VPower Group dates back to 2008. Today, VPower Group is an owner and operator of MTU power generation systems, with a wide range of applications in China and other countries.

Since 2014, VPower Group has been using MTU gas gen-sets from Rolls-Royce to strengthen its leadership in Myanmar’s fast track power segment. This has led to VPower’s recent winning of a mega-sized LNG-to-power tender issued by Electric Power Generation Enterprise (EPGE), Ministry of Electricity and Energy of the Government of Myanmar.

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Natural Gas Emerging as the World's Go-To Fuel


Natural gas is the cleanest, most versatile, and most flexible fossil fuel. Gas emits 50 percent less CO2 than coal and 30 percent less than oil, not to mention having near zero local pollutants that cause smog. In addition, in contrast to coal (65 percent for power) and oil (60 percent for transport), gas has a variety of uses. Gas gets utilized in the power, industry, commercial, residential, and the transportation sectors. And increasingly important as nations seek to decarbonize, gas is the backup generation source for intermittent renewables. It is gas that fills in for those frequent times when the “the wind isn’t blowing” and “the sun isn’t shining.” 

This all explains why gas today provides a rising 30 percent of the energy used in the rich OECD economies. Now, the still developing countries – which constitute 85 percent of the global population – hope to follow the Western model in making a global “dash to gas.” China and India especially have national strategies to lower their overdependence on coal and lift gas’ 8 percent share of energy supply to around 20 percent.    

Since 2000, global gas reserves have expanded over 50 percent to 7,000 Tcf. In turn, total demand since 2010 alone has risen 25 percent to 380 Bcf/d. The rapidly growing LNG trade is encouraging more gas usage, evolving this longtime regional product into a global and fungible commodity like oil. LNG continues to extend its ~15 percent share of the world’s gas consumption by connecting distant suppliers and buyers. LNG investments hit $50 billion in 2019 alone, with hundreds of billions of dollars more on the horizon.

The U.S. shale revolution itself is at the heart of the global “dash to gas.” Over the past decade, U.S. gas production has risen over 60 percent to 93 Bcf/d. Excess supply has helped the U.S. become the third largest LNG supplier in just a few years, now shipping out over 7 Bcf/d. The growth of destination-flexible, hub-priced LNG exports from the U.S. is establishing a more liquid and flexible gas market. Along with advancing systems like FLNG, this is deepening the pool of importing nations, now at 45 versus 25 five years ago.

U.S. LNG is adding the transparency and predictably that the market has been lacking since its inception decades ago. The U.S. is also improving pricing dynamics by increasing gas-on-gas competition and spot market sales, while lowering the riskier buyer reliance on oil-indexation, overly high volume purchases, and long-term contracts. So not just lowering pricing domestically, the U.S. shale boom and its LNG are helping to keep gas prices lower globally, boosting more interest in the commodity itself.

Looking forward, the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects that the U.S. will add 30 percent of the world’s new gas production through 2030, and the country could become the largest LNG exporter within five years. To be sure, however, ongoing liquefaction capacity gains from Qatar, Australia, Russia, Canada, and some African nations are expected to keep global gas prices low and add more opportunities for buyers.

Low prices themselves are being understated in terms of locking-in more gas infrastructure and usage. They are especially required for the still developing nations because citizens simply cannot afford more expensive energy. This justifies previous World Bank President Jim Yong Kim’s view that a Western insistence on “only wind, only solar” for the world’s poor was not just impractical but utterly unfair. To illustrate, rich Germany is spending literally hundreds of billions of dollars forcing wind and solar into the system yet is now looking at building three LNG import terminals.

Indeed, many other nations understandably want to follow the same “dash to gas” that the U.S. has. The IEA has credited the shale gas boom as the key factor in why the U.S. has been reducing CO2 emissions faster than any other nation. In the not too distant future, perhaps in less than a decade, natural gas will surpass oil to become the world’s primary fuel. Farther out, the U.S. Department of Energy’s International Energy Outlook 2019 models that global gas demand will soar 40-45 percent by 2050.

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Thanks for starting this informative thread. Here the details shared by you experts is very helpful.

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Fleet Owner Eyes Natural Gas-fueled Alternative



Specialty chemicals provider Ingevity reported this week that it is partnering with the natural gas fueling specialist Ozinga Energy to conduct a field demonstration of adsorbed natural gas (ANG) bi-fuel pickup trucks.

David Newton, Ingevity’s commercial director for performance materials, told Rigzone that ANG technology marks the “second wave” of natural gas vehicles (NGV).

“The methane gas adsorption science behind ANG is likely already part of the car you drive today,” Newton explained. “Proprietary activated carbon technology has been used for over 40 years in vehicles and applications around the world to capture and recover over 8 million gallons of gasoline vapor emissions every day. This same activated carbon technology has been leveraged to enable ANG.”

Ozinga Energy has purchased an ANG-equipped Ford F-150 pickup truck and installed a dedicated, low-pressure fueling appliance at its headquarters in Mokena, Ill., Ingevity noted in a written statement. Pointing out that Ozinga already uses CNG-powered heavy-duty trucks in its fleet, Ingevity maintains that ANG represents a good natural gas transportation fuel option for light-duty vehicles such as pickups, sport-utility vehicles and service vans. The company added that ANG is 50 percent less costly to operate than a gasoline-only vehicle, increases natural gas usage for a gas utility by more than 60 percent and emits 25 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to similar gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles.

Ingevity’s ANG technology uses natural gas storage canisters containing activated carbon “monoliths” that the company produces from hardwood sawdust. Newton said that using hardwood sawdust in its monoliths – rather than coal – yields performance characteristics that enable the material to more efficiently capture and release vapors.

“The activated carbon fills cylindrical tanks that are nested in the bed of a truck and further reduce the storage pressure of the natural gas without sacrificing the volume of gas stored,” he continued. “ANG’s ability to operate at 900 pounds per square inch (psi) – compared to CNG’s 3,600 psi – increases the methane adsorption capacity inside the cylinders, meaning the ANG tanks hold twice the volume of natural gas at equivalent pressures while still allowing access to the traditional benefits of CNG at a fraction of operational pressures.”

Newton called ANG’s lower pressures “game-changing” for light-duty vehicles and the technology because:

  • it requires an easy-to-install, affordable fueling appliance for commercial use
  • eliminates the need for a CNG fueling station
  • offers lower fueling costs than gasoline and diesel in the United States
  • combats “range anxiety” tied to electric vehicles
  • provides a relatively inexpensive total cost of ownership.

In addition, Newton pointed out that ANG is a particularly attractive option for fleet owners hesitant to incur CNG-related costs. He called the technology “ideal” for small (five to 20 vehicles), dispersed light-duty fleets with easy access to natural gas but lacking the scale economies to justify investing in higher-pressure CNG.

“We continue to focus on building our ANG pilot programs to develop a strong network of early-adopter fleets across the country,” commented Ed Woodcock, Ingevity’s executive vice president and president, Performing Materials. “Ozinga Energy is an important member of a growing portfolio of natural gas utility and commercial fleet owners seeking alternative fuel options for the underserved light-duty fleet market.”

Ingevity stated that Ozinga Energy, which provides public-access CNG fueling for heavy-duty trucks at six stations in Illinois and California, plans to evaluate the ANG technology to further expand its alternative fuel strategy to its light-duty truck fleet. It also pointed out that other companies that have embraced ANG demonstration fleets include Sempra Energy unit SoCalGas and Atlanta Gas Light.

“ANG allows Ozinga Energy to further our commitment to green fleet technologies and benefit from additional fuel savings for our light-duty trucks,” noted Jeff Bonnema, Ozinga’s fleet management vice president. “We are excited to demonstrate the value of ANG and are also interested in adding more ANG trucks to our light-duty fleet, as well as the potential for future alternative-fuel growth opportunities for our business.”

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Bilfinger and Greeen Solutions have signed a framework agreement covering engineering, assembly and services for LNG filling stations in Germany.

The goal is to establish a filling station network for trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), the companies said in a statement on Wednesday.

Bilfinger EMS will serve as the technology partner of Greeen Solutions for the design, construction and maintenance of the LNG filling stations. The Cloppenburg-based company will contribute its engineering service to approval planning for future LNG filling station locations and will also coordinate other planning services.

Furthermore, Bilfinger EMS will carry out technical inspections for plant function, plant safety and conformity with German laws and standards. The company will also provide qualified personnel for the installation, technical testing and commissioning of the filling stations.

The first LNG filling stations ordered by Greeen Solutions will be installed before the end of this year. The company plans to set up facilities in Bremen, Melle, Cologne, Greding and Ettenheim.

The filling stations will be operated by Alternoil, on whose behalf Greeen Solutions is acting as project developer.



This year, ten additional LNG filling stations are already under construction or in the approval phase.

In order to make the network accessible to as many freight forwarders as possible, Alternoil is using the existing infrastructure. This enables service station operators to supply LNG at their current locations.

For fleet operators looking to switch to LNG trucks, Alternoil can also provide LNG directly at their sites. To facilitate this, the company is pursuing an integrated concept. The concept covers planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the stations as well as the supply of LNG.

In the future, heavy goods traffic on German roads will have a much lower impact on the environment and climate.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure has launched a program of subsidies for heavy goods vehicles. The program is intended to make it easier for freight forwarders to switch from diesel to alternative drive systems.

There is a clear trend towards LNG. The prerequisite for the widespread use of LNG trucks is the existence of a comprehensive network of filling stations.

An EU directive stipulates that LNG vehicles must be able to fill up with LNG anywhere in the European transport network without difficulty by 2025 at the latest,




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he world’s biggest dual-fuel, low-speed engine WinGD X92DF has been officially launched in China, China State Shipbuilding Corporation revealed.

The engine was developed by Winterthur Gas & Diesel (WinGD), a subsidiary of CSSC, built by Shanghai CSSC Mitsui Shipbuilding Diesel Engine Co., and guaranteed by CSSC Marine Power Technology Service.

Class society Bureau Veritas awarded the type approval for WinGD’s dual-fuelled 12X92DF engines following a series of extensive full-load tests in diesel and gas operation.

A virtual ceremony on May 26 with guests joining from Beijing, Shanghai, Marseille, Paris and Winterthur marked the landmark moment for the ground-breaking engine technology, which has brought the use of LNG as a marine fuel into an entirely new vessel sector.

Fanpei Lei, Chairman/Party Secretary at China State Shipbuilding Corp., said the development of the engine was in line with the industry’s decarbonization mission and ‘injects new power’ into the development of global shipbuilding industry while marking a significant step for Chinese ship power research and development.


The engine is designed for modern large and ultra-large container vessels, and will power nine ULCS owned by the CMA CGM Group.

Back in 2017, French shipping major CMA CGM chose WinGD’s 12X92DF engines for nine of its 23,000 TEU containerships. The USD 1.2 billion worth containerships are scheduled to start delivery in 2020.

“CMA CGM’s ground-breaking choice in favour of LNG is a major step forward and a clear illustration of our resolute commitment to environmental protection and to the energy transition of the maritime industry. This certification is a major milestone as it marks the recognition of the technological efficiency of our dual-fuel engine project,” CMA CGM said.



Olivier Cartier, Technical Vice President, Bureau Veritas, said that the certification of WinGD’s 12X92DF engine was a long process due to the size and complexity of the engine.

“We mobilized our worldwide teams of engine specialists, especially in China, in France and in Germany, at each of the critical phases of the certification process.  Progressive Type Approval Tests were necessary where at each test significant progress and refinement were noted, so that we remained confident that final certification at 100% of the power using gas as fuel was an achievable objective – and this has now been achieved,” he said.

The WinGD X92DF integrates ultra-high power, intelligent monitoring as well as high environmental performance meeting IMO’s Tier III emission reduction requirements. In addition to conventional heavy-fuel oil or diesel oil, WinGD’s X-DF dual-fuel engines, use LNG gas, admitted at low-pressure and ignited by a low volume of liquid pilot fuel.

According to Dominik Schneiter, Vice President, for Research and Development at WinGD, the combination of Otto (lean burn) and Diesel cycle technology enables these engines to adapt for any of the potential sustainable fuels of the future making them a secure asset for a long time to come.
WinGD has received 320 orders for their X-DF engines including 60 in operation.

The company said that its X-DF model has been the best-selling dual-fuel low-speed engine technology in the maritime market since the second half of 2017.

Rated 63,840 kW at 80 rpm, the engine weighs over 2,100 tons.





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