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World’s first LNG fuelled tanker in operation

Oilfield Technology,

The Bit Viking, the world's first LNG fuelled product tanker, is now in service. The vessel is the largest commercial vessel which Is not an LNG tanker to use LNG as a fuel. Bit Viking, which is owned by Sweden's Tarbit Shipping, was converted under supervision from Germanischer Lloyd (GL) and now qualifies for lower nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission taxes under the Norwegian government's NOx fund scheme.

The Bit Viking is built with double engine rooms, propellers, steering gears, rudders and control systems. Having previously been powered by two 6-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 46 engines running on heavy fuel oil, the conversion has changed these to 6-cylinder in-line Wärtsilä 50DF dual-fuel engines operating on LNG, supplied by two 500 m3 LNG storage tanks on the fore deck.

GL experts played a critical role by safeguarding the components manufactured and installed in the system - the piping, valves, safety equipment, and the tanks themselves - ensuring that they were all safely constructed, using the right type of materials and right type of welding.

The technical challenge in the conversion process was immense, says Ronnie-Torsten Westerman, Business Development Manager at GL. As a world first, the project required special attention on how to interpret the relevant class rules and how the flag administration would understand and accept the risk analysis. Says Westerman, "Special attention was given to the bunkering process and how it should be performed, since this is a critical operation and requires special expertise and equipment."

After the conversion greenhouse gases have been reduced by 20% to 25%, sulfur output cut entirely, NOx gases were cut by 90% and particulate emissions reduced by 99%.

The Bit Viking recommenced commercial trading on 25 October 2011. Ever since, she has been performing as expected and the crew has successfully bunkered her from the shore facility at Risavika, South of Stavanger. The Bit Viking is trading along the entire length of the coast of Norway, from Oslo to Kirkenes, on behalf of oil major Statoil.

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