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Top LNG ship takes shape in Shanghai
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-18 05:30

The eye-catching vessel, scheduled for delivery by November 2007, will be used to transport liquefied natural gas from Australia to South China's Guangdong Province, where a 7-billion yuan (US$846 million) LNG terminal is under construction, said Fang Huimin, a press officer with Hudong-Zhonghua, a subsidiary of the State-owned China State Shipbuilding Corp (CSSC).

The terminal, expected to go online in mid-2006, will import more than 3 million tons of LNG from Australia, annually, to supply energy-starved regions, including cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou and Foshan, as well as Hong Kong, via undersea pipelines.

Fang said the building of LNG carriers has long been dominated by a handful of countries, such as South Korea and Japan.

Wang Hengyuan, chief technology inspector of the shipbuilder, said the first LNG vessel is a prismatic, membrane type that conforms to the shape of the ship's hull.

There are basically two types of LNG carrier in the world. The other type is called 'Moss', in which the tops of the spheres protrude above the hull making the ships instantly recognizable.

"We imported the patent for the cryogenics from a French company," Wang said. "At present, about 90 per cent of the design drawings have been finished, and 90 per cent of the raw materials and equipment have been purchased."

Wang said the first carrier is designed to contain 147,000 cubic metres of liquefied natural gas, whose volume will expand by 600 times under normal atmospheric temperature.

"The technology required is very demanding and complicated," Wang said. "We have studied the building of an LNG carrier since 1997, and workers underwent about 8,400 programmes of special training."
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