Bechtel Ready to Quadruple Queensland LNG Production

By MarEx 2015-06-10 00:10:35

Bechtel is on track to complete the construction of an additional three LNG production trains on Australia’s Curtis Island by the end of 2015, quadrupling Queensland’s LNG production.

Bechtel is constructing the state’s first three LNG plants, the first in the world to convert commercial quantities of coal seam gas into liquid form ready for export. When complete, the operators of the plants – Queensland Curtis LNG (BG Group), GLNG Plant Project (Santos, PETRONAS, Total & KOGAS) and Australia Pacific LNG (ConocoPhillips) – will produce the commodity for export to their global customers.

“The projects will begin producing LNG in rapid succession over the second half of 2015,” said Alasdair Cathcart, Bechtel’s global LNG general manager. “It’s certainly a time of significant milestones on Curtis Island, as we move though final commissioning and eventually into handover of these projects to the operating teams. It’s all part of a carefully planned program to deliver unprecedented capacity to our customers, further building on our extensive global LNG experience.”

Six production trains will be operational when Bechtel hands over the LNG plants to the owner teams for long-term operation. Queensland Curtis LNG Train 1 has been producing LNG since December 2014, filling more than 16 ships with cargo to date. Bechtel is now working on delivering the second train for that project. Concurrently, Bechtel teams on the GLNG and Australia Pacific LNG plants recently introduced gas into their systems and began producing their own power as part of commissioning the first of two production trains on each site. The second production trains on each of these projects are expected to be operational in early 2016.

The Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, and Federal Industry and Science Minister, Ian Macfarlane, recently toured the QCLNG plant commemorating the launch of commercial operations from the first production train. At the event QGC Managing Director, Mitchell Ingram, said: “We’re proud to be delivering an important new energy industry for Queensland and world markets. Congratulations to our team and Bechtel who have worked hard to achieve this milestone.”

At full capacity, the three Curtis Island projects combined will produce about 25 million tons of LNG per annum for the global market, the equivalent to powering a city the size of Tokyo with 13 million people. Bechtel is also the principal downstream contractor for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project in Western Australia and is partnered with customers to build more than a third of the world’s LNG liquefaction capacity currently under construction to provide alternative, cleaner fuel sources.

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Osaka cargo traffic down in February

The Port of Osaka’s cargo traffic declined 5.5% in February 2015 from a year earlier to 6.163 million tonnes, as strong foreign trade was offset by weak domestic trade.
According to preliminary figures released by the Osaka municipal government on 8 June, of the 6.163 million tonnes, 2.664 million
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Speed, Comms Implicated in Houston Channel Collision

By MarEx 2015-06-09 23:09:03

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has released its findings into the collision between a bulk carrier and a barge in the Houston Channel last year citing a lack of communication between the vessel’s and inappropriate vessel speeds as contributing factors in the accident.

On March 22, 2014, about 1235 central daylight time, the 607-foot-long bulk carrier Summer Wind with a Houston pilot on board collided with the 670-foot-long Miss Susan tow (a 70-foot-long towing vessel and two 300-foot-long tank barges loaded with fuel oil) in the Houston Ship Channel, Lower Galveston Bay, Texas.

The visibility was restricted at the time due to fog. The bulk carrier was inbound to Houston, traveling in a north direction. The tow was bound for Port Bolivar on the east side of the Houston Ship Channel, traveling in an east direction.

The collision breached the hull of the forward tank barge in the Miss Susan tow, and about 168,000 gallons of fuel oil spilled into the waterway. Two crewmembers on board the Miss Susan sustained minor injuries related to inhalation of fuel vapor. The total estimated damage was nearly $1,378,000 (excluding oil response and recovery efforts).

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of the collision was the Miss Susan captain’s attempt to cross the Houston Ship Channel ahead of the Summer Wind, thereby impeding the passage of the bulk carrier, which could transit only within the confines of the channel.

Contributing to the accident was the failure of the Houston pilot and the Summer Wind master to set a safe speed given the restricted visibility and nearby towing vessel traffic, and the failure of the Miss Susan captain and the Houston pilot to establish early radio communication with one another.

Also contributing to the accident was the failure of Vessel Traffic Service Houston/Galveston to interact with the two vessels during the developing risk of collision, and the lack of a Coast Guard vessel separation policy for the Bolivar Roads Precautionary Area.

The report identifies the following safety issues:

• Lack of vessel separation in Houston Ship Channel precautionary areas with intersecting waterways: The NTSB has previously noted that insufficient distance between vessels when they turn, pass, and overtake one another near intersections can create unsafe situations. This accident once again highlights the need for separation between vessels in such areas of the Houston Ship Channel.

• Inadequate oversight and training related to the safety and health of uninspected towing vessel crews responding to hazardous materials releases: In assessing why two Miss Susan crewmembers suffered inhalation injuries when responding to the oil spill, the NTSB found that both federal oversight and company training of personnel exposed to hazardous materials were insufficient.

The report is available here.

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