'Historic' voyage to begin contract worth billions

A MONSTER LNG carrier has departed Curtis Island carrying the first shipment of LNG to a Japanese company that has signed up to buy 20 million tonnes over the next 20 years.

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The 127,653 tonne LNG FUKUROKUJU, purpose-built for the contract between APLNG and Japan's Kansai Electric Power Company, left Curtis Island late last month carrying its first shipment as part of a 20-year contract.

APLNG boss Page Maxson said the shipment was a "significant milestone" in the facility's history, highlighting the strong partnership between APLNG and Kansai Electric.

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LNG FUKUROKUJU is purpose built to carry LNG from the APLNG facility at Curtis Island to Kansai Electric facility in Japan.
LNG FUKUROKUJU is purpose built to carry LNG from the APLNG facility at Curtis Island to Kansai Electric facility in Japan. APLNG

As part of the contract the two companies signed in 2013, more than a million tonnes of LNG will be shipped from APLNG to Japan each year for the next two decades.

Production from the three LNG plants - APLNG, GLNG, and QCLNG - is expected to create an extra 25 million tonnes of trade travel through Gladstone's port.

"It also demonstrates the important role our business plays in delivering a cleaner form of energy to global markets," Mr Maxson said.

It's the 27th shipment by APLNG, which began exporting gas in January this year, less than a month after it began production.

The Japanese-built LNG FUKUROKUJU, a "Moss-type'' LNG carrier, left Curtis Island at 3pm on June 29.

Most LNG carriers can be identified by two distinct types of tank construction - the "Moss-type'' with rounded tanks and the "membrane-type'' with the tanks built into the ship.

The first LNG carrier with rounded tanks was the Norman Lady, launched in Stavanger in Norway in 1973.

The membrane-type ships, developed during the 1960s, use a thin flexible metal "membrane'' that is in contact with the ship's cargo.

Before 2000, 54% of LNG carriers were the Moss-type, mostly because Japanese shipyards were only licensed to build that type of ship. But now the membrane tanks outnumber the traditional Moss-type LNG carriers.


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