American Ethane reveals plans to order 17 VLECs
Houston-based American Ethane Company (AEC) says it plans to order 17 very large ethane carriers at Gastech in Houston on 17 September. The 150,000 cbm capacity VLECs will be ordered from Chinese shipyards Hudong-Zhonghua and Jiangnan, both of which received approval in principle for VLEC designs earlier in 2019.
The vessels are designed for long distance, large scale ethane transportation. The vessels will feature GTT’s Mark III membrane containment system, which allows the cargo capacity to be enhanced within the vessel’s dimensions, while retaining a limited draft.
The newbuilds will be contracted on the basis of a long-term contract signed between American Ethane and China Merchants Group to supply three Chinese chemicals producers, Nanshan Group, the Ganergy Group and the Yangquan Coal Group, with US shale gas-derived ethane. Cargoes will be delivered to new discharge terminals and gas crackers. Construction of the facilities has yet to begin.
An export terminal in Beaumont Texas is expected to have a throughput capacity of 7.2 million tonnes/year of ethane once construction is completed.
The first VLEC is expected to be delivered by mid 2021, with the last of the series of vessels expected to be delivered by 2023.