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BUNKER INDEX :: Price Index, News and Directory Information for the Marine Fuel Industry
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Houlder embraces first-mover philosophy in ssLNG sector

Firm says the work it has put into developing ssLNG solutions reflects the confidence it has in the sector.

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Updated on 01 Nov 2017 10:10 GMT

Engineering and design company Houlder Ltd. says the work the company has put into developing small-scale LNG (ssLNG) solutions over the last few years reflects the confidence the employee-owned business has in the sector.

The UK-headquartered firm has been developing ssLNG infrastructure steadily over the last five years. At the beginning of 2017, it announced a memorandum of understanding with KLAW LNG - a specialist in the design, manufacture and supply of LNG transfer systems.

This new collaboration built on both companies' experience in creating new bunker and transfer solutions. The joint Houlder-KLAW LNG team are working together to deliver the KHobra LNG systems, providing ship-to-ship and shore-to-ship LNG transfers.

Alongside any new equipment, the collaboration also offers clients a full set of services, available worldwide, including vessel installation and integration, site assistance and support.

The KHobra transfer system is a key component of a floating transfer terminal (FTT) self-propelled barge, developed by Houlder, Wartsila and Trelleborg, that shuttles to and from LNG vessels moored as far as 800 metres offshore. Trelleborg Cryolline LNG floating hoses can then transfer LNG and boil-off gas between the barge and any shore facility without a fixed jetty.

The FTT is a flexible, quickly deployable solution that, thanks to a low draft barge and floating hoses, can operate in a wide range of possible locations at a fraction of the cost of fixed infrastructure.

Houlder's confidence in ssLNG sector growth has been supported by a recent industry report published by PWC, entitled 'Small going big. Why small-scale LNG may be the next big wave'.

According to the report's authors, "this segment is not yet on the radar of many industry participants. It should be". Neil Ferguson, Houlder's LNG Storage and Distribution Director, explained that the company has a track record of performing well in new sectors.

"Houlder thrives in new industries as demonstrated by our impact on North Sea oil and gas and, more recently, our innovations in offshore wind. Our engineering and design teams love the challenge of designing new infrastructure," Ferguson said.

PWC's report concludes that "demand is likely to grow rapidly, catalyzed by increasingly stringent environmental regulations and the industry's ability to unlock new seams of consumption".

The paper goes on to say that "companies that can move with agility, that have the right strategy and capabilities in place, and that can build partnerships across the LNG value chain will benefit from the advantage that accrues to first movers".

"It's an approach we not only recognise, but fully embrace," Ferguson remarked.

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