Keel laying for the second gas carrier to be chartered by PGNiG
In the South Korean shipyard, Hyundai Heavy Industries, the keel was laid for the construction of the second of the LNG carriers ordered by PGNiG, which will be named Grazyna Gesicka. Earlier, the launch of the first tanker named Lech Kaczynski was completed.
Intensive work continues on the construction of the first two LNG carriers ordered by the PGNiG Group (Polish Gas and Oil Company). The keel for the second vessel of this type has been laid. It is a milestone of the project, which means the formal start of the hull construction. According to PGNiG’s plans, the vessel will be named after Grażyna Gęsicka – Minister of Regional Development from 2005-to 2007.
The construction of the first ship, which will be named after President Lech Kaczyński, is more advanced. On June 4, as PGNiG’s official announcement stresses, the vessel moved out of the dry dock into the water. However, this does not mean that the construction of the gas carrier has already finished.
“First of all, the LNG tanks and the rest of the gas facility still have to be installed on the ship,” – PGNiG reports.
The ship will then undergo sea trials to assess whether it meets its design objectives, including speed and manoeuvrability. Finally, there will be gas tests. The official naming of the ship after Lech Kaczynski will only occur in the final stage of the construction of the gas carrier and, according to PGNiG, will take place in late autumn this year.
The gas carriers Lech Kaczynski and Grazyna Gesicka, which will enter into operation in 2023, are the first LNG vessels built specifically for PGNiG. In total, the PGNiG Group has signed charter agreements for eight such vessels, which PGNiG will charter from the Norwegian shipowner Knutsen OAS Shipping. Two more gas carriers will enter service in 2024, and in 2025 as many as four new vessels of this type will be commissioned.
All ships ordered for PGNiG will have a capacity of 174,000 cubic metres of liquefied natural gas. This amount of LNG corresponds to 100 million cubic metres of natural gas in a volatile state. PGNiG will use the gas carriers based on long-term charter contracts concluded with specialised shipping companies: Knutsen OAS Shipping and Maran Gas Maritime.
Notwithstanding this, PGNiG has decided to short-term charter three gas carriers already in use this year. This is in connection with PGNiG’s intensification of imports of liquefied natural gas to the Świnoujście gas port in response to Russian aggression against Ukraine and the crisis in the European gas market.
The Polish company aims to use almost the entire capacity of the LNG terminal in Świnoujście this year, which from 2022 can handle LNG cargoes equivalent to 6.2 bcm of natural gas after regasification. Furthermore, having its own gas carriers allows PGNiG to purchase gas directly at liquefaction terminals, which definitely broadens the possibility of acquiring LNG.
PGNiG’s fleet of LNG carriers will be used primarily to serve long-term contracts for purchasing liquefied natural gas from the U.S. The contracts signed so far with U.S. LNG producers provide for the supply of approx. Nine bcm of gas (after regasification), of which over seven bcm will be supplied in the free on board (FOB) formula, which means that the buyer is responsible for collecting the cargo from the liquefaction facility and transporting it onwards.