New welding technology for polar LNG carriers

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) of Korea recently announced that it plans to develop a specialised welding technology for polar LNG carrier tanks.

This is part of the company’s long term strategy for the expected increase in demand for LNG carriers and LNG FPSOs to be used in the polar region as interest in natural gas development in that area has been growing. HHI expects to make inroads in the polar LNG carrier and LNG FPSO market ahead of gas development projects in the Arctic Ocean where it is estimated that 44 billion barrels of natural gas, or 30% of world natural gas reserves, are located.

The goal of this project is to make a special welding system that can work on the thick aluminum plates used for the LNG tanks. Highly developed welding skills are needed to build a polar LNG containment tank since it is made up of ultra thick aluminum plates of 50mm to 70mm to be safely used in the ultra cold regions.

By developing new welding machines and welding carriages, HHI plans to increase welded metal amount from 35g to 60g per minute and expects to improve welding speed and increase welding capacity by more than 30%.

After building its first LNG carrier in 1994, HHI has constructed a total of 37 LNG carriers. It is also the only Korean company which can build two types of LNG containment tanks, i.e. spherical dome type and membrane type.

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