The Saint Barbara and Ignatius Lukasiewicz are two new gas carriers – vessels adapted to carry liquefied natural gas (LNG) – that have joined ORLEN Group’s fleet. The vessels were built at the Hyundai Sambo Heavy Industries shipyard in Mokpo, South Korea. Ultimately, the fleet of LNG carriers contracted by PGNiG (now in the ORLEN Group) is to comprise eight vessels.
The names of the new vessels were chosen before they were built and are not coincidental. Saint Barbara (Saint Barbara) – was named in honour of the patron saint of miners, oil and gas workers, while Ignacy Łukasiewicz is a tribute to the pioneer of the global oil industry. The gas carriers are state-of-the-art vessels equipped with engines that use innovative power technologies that reduce emissions and fuel consumption by about 5 per cent compared to previous solutions.
The capacity of each vessel is about 70,000 tonnes of LNG, equivalent to about 100 million m3 of natural gas in a volatile state. Their size has been chosen so that the vessels can enter almost any LNG terminal in the world. Both units are equipped with solutions to increase their energy efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. These include integrated management of electricity consumption and a reliquefaction system to recover gas that is naturally vaporised during transport.
St Barbara and Ignatius Lukasiewicz will be used for both long-term contracts and spot contracts under the free-on-board (FOB) formula, under which the buyer, i.e. ORLEN Group, is responsible for the collection and transport of the cargo.
– The strategy of diversification of blue fuel imports based on LNG supplies, which has been implemented for several years, has proved successful and has enabled a complete abandonment of the Russian raw material in the extremely difficult period of the European energy crisis. Natural gas remains a strategic raw material that is not only essential for households and the chemical industry, but also enables an efficient and secure energy transition. Our own LNG vessels expand ORLEN Group’s logistical capabilities and thus strengthen the certainty of supply, while reducing transport costs,” stresses Daniel Obajtek, President of ORLEN Group.
As of 2023, LNG deliveries by sea are already being carried out by two built LNG carriers from ORLEN’s fleet – Lech Kaczyński and Grażyna Gęsicka. Ultimately, the ORLEN Group fleet will comprise eight vessels.
Cooperation with the owner of chartered methane carriers also includes the recruitment of Polish nationals to work on vessels from the ORLEN Group fleet. At present, a number of our compatriots are already on duty, e.g. as senior officers on the gas tanker Lech Kaczyński, or as chief engineers on the gas tanker Grażyna Gęsicka. More people will soon be joining the service on the gas carrier Saint Barbara. The shipowner is also in constant contact with Polish maritime universities, e.g. in order to increase the number of Poles in the crews serving on ORLEN Group’s gas tankers.
The outbreak of war in Ukraine and the cessation of gas deliveries to Europe from the eastern direction have increased demand for LNG. In the first half of 2022, imports of LNG to the European Union countries amounted to 54.6 bcm, compared to only 34.3 bcm in the same period of 2021. The upward trend continues this year as well. Liquefied gas deliveries to the EU in H1 2023 amounted to 61.3 bcm (approximately 79 per cent more than in the corresponding period of 2021).
The share of crude delivered by sea, in ORLEN Group imports, is growing. In 2021, it amounted to 24 per cent, with volumes reaching 3.94 bcm. A year later, LNG accounted for 43 per cent of total imports, with a volume of 6.04 bcm.
The company receives LNG primarily at the President Lech Kaczynski Terminal in Świnoujście. To date, there have already been 254 deliveries with a volume of approximately 20 million tonnes of LNG. Most cargoes have come from Qatar and the USA. Deliveries have also arrived in Poland from Norway, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt and Equatorial Guinea. Since May 2022, the company has also been using the Klaipeda terminal in Lithuania. To date, 10 cargoes with a total volume of nearly 655,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas have been delivered here for the ORLEN Group. After re-gasification, the raw material is sent to Poland via the Poland-Lithuania pipeline. Some of the fuel is also directed to the markets of the Baltic countries.