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Australia-listed Global Energy Ventures (GEV) has lined up an order for up to eight new compressed natural gas (CNG) carriers in China. It has picked CIMC Raffles to build four firm vessels of its CNG Optimum 200MMscf design, plus four options. The proposed price range per ship in the letter of intent (LoI) is between $135m and $145m, meaning the full series could cost $1.16bn.

Both sides are now working towards a binding agreement after CIMC was picked from a shortlist of three yards. The LoI is valid for 90 days. Delivery will be 30 months from contract signing for the first vessel, with new ships coming every four months after that.GEV is also now focusing on securing a regional gas supply agreement to match customer offtake deals. The company wants to be a viable alternative to FLNG or sub-sea pipelines.

Jensen explains choice

GEV’s shipping team is led by non-executive director Jens Martin Jensen, the former Frontline boss. They selected CIMC based on its commercial terms and delivery track record. It has also built the only CNG ship operating today.

Jensen said: “In my 30 years of new ship builds, CIMC Raffles has proven to be a highly credible and very capable yard, and they are without doubt an investment grade shipyard for GEV’s first CNG project.”

Shipbroker Clarksons Platou is working with the company, together with SeaQuest Marine Project Management, on the project.

Its stated aims are to pursue multiple CNG projects to improve the probability of success, secure access to strategic gas resources and bring in world-class staff.CNG is gas stored under pressure and, unlike LNG, does not require complex and expensive liquefaction facilities, GEV said.

The Optimum design maximises the amount of CNG that can be stored within the hull of a ship, using a containment system built using close-packed, high strength pipes that run the entire length of the ship’s cargo hold.

“The invention of a mechanism to clamp these gas storage pipes so tightly together that they become locked together as one allows this design to meet all classification requirements,” it said.

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