Corrosion Protection Advised for Gas Conversion
Nippon Paint Marine is advising shipowners and shipyards to ensure that their fuel, water and cargo tanks are protected from corrosion as they convert oil and gas carriers into storage and production units. According to an emailed press release, Nippon reports that the reduced dependence on Russian oil and gas is leading to an increased demand for ships to transport and store gas globally.
“We were already seeing increased demand for LNGC to FSRU conversions before the recent drastic disruption in oil and gas markets, but demand is now expected to exceed those initial expectations. We are seeing increased interest in countries considering storage and regas units to supplement and strengthen existing shore-based infrastructure,” said Niko Yamanoue, Director, Nippon Paint Marine (Europe).
“The cancellation of Nord Stream 2 is also likely to exacerbate demand for tonnage. But whether owners build new, recommission tonnage laid up during the offshore downturn or convert existing LNG carriers into FSRUs or FSUs, the performance of the protective coatings specified will be key to the commercial and technical success of these vessels.”
Yamanoue adds that floating oil and gas storage facilities are built to NORSOK standards, which were developed in 1994 by Norway’s petroleum industry to ensure protective coatings were suitable in offshore oil and gas environments. Because of this, the assets are reportedly designed with longer service intervals than conventional vessels and require anti-corrosive coating for safe operation.
With a need to offer certified coatings products, Nippon created its NOA60HS coating for the internal carbon steel tanks and pipework of offshore vessels and installations. The coating was certified in 2020 by the Norwegian Technology Standards Institution as meeting the requirements of the NORSOK M-501 standard.
“The addition of NOA to the NORSOK M-501 approved product range marked a significant development in the structural safety of offshore vessels and installations, such as FSOs, FSRUs and FPSOs,” said Yamanoue.
“NOA60HS eliminates the risk of anti-corrosion coatings applied with low film thickness, a contributory factor in corrosion influenced structural failure.”
According to the company, the anticorrosion system uses a self-indicating technology developed to prevent incorrect application by indicating incorrect film thickness if the coating appears transparent. If the coating is opaque, the specified film thickness has been attained.
“Correctly applied coatings to tank edges and corners, improves the structural integrity of internal spaces, providing greater protection,” Yamanoue added.
Nippon adds that while a number of LNG carriers are already operating with NOA coating, it is anticipating a rush of new orders ad the demand for gas ships and conversions increases.
Russian Oil, Gas Ban
Last month, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to ban the import of Russian oil, gas and coal to the United States in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Russian oil reportedly makes up a small percentage of U.S. oil imports, prices have already been impacted by the ban.
According to the White House’s Fact Sheet, the Executive Order signed March 8 bans:
The new policy stipulates that new Russian energy contracts will not be allowed and that existing contracts will have 45 days to end, a senior Biden administration official told reporters on a call. According to The Washington Post, Russian oil accounts for roughly 3% of U.S. consumption, with sources in the country expected to make up for the imports.
The White House reports that it has committed to releasing more than 90 million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with an emergency sale of 30 million barrels announced last week. Conversations are also reportedly being held with energy producers and consumers on furthers steps that can be taken to stabilize the energy supply.
Noting that U.S. oil and gas production is approaching record highs, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the oil and gas industry has 9,000 approved permits to drill on public lands that it has yet to use. Additionally, the Administration added that oil and gas companies “should not use Putin’s war as an excuse for excess price increases or padding profits.”
Another method of avoiding higher gas prices, according to the release, will be to speed up the transition to clean energy and reduce dependency on fossil fuels.
Recent Nippon News
In February, Nippon Paint Marine announced that, due to high freight rates and workforce limitations caused by COVID-19 measures, drydocking capacities in Southeast Asia are expected to drop by more than 25% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
According to the emailed release, a total of 516 vessels totaling 28mdwt drydocked at Singapore shipyards for paint jobs in 2019, but in 2020 that number decreased to 296 and 316 in 2021. Nippon forecasts similar shortfalls at repair yards across the country.
“We expect the number of vessels drydocking in the Asia Pacific region for a new coating to be 680-800, slightly up on the previous two years but still only 60-70% of the number of vessels that docked in 2019, which had a combined tonnage approaching 76 million deadweight,” said Bill Phua, Managing Director, Nippon Paint Marine (Singapore), at the time.
Phua, who recently visited shipyards in Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and the Middle East, noted that strict virus safety measures and travel restrictions due to omicron are impacting the availability of workers to carry out the work.
High freight rates also have affected the repair volumes, with shipowners reportedly postponing scheduled drydockings to keep vessels trading.
However, Nippon also reported that the number of vessels applying more fuel-efficient hull coatings is expected to increase, providing benefits to repair yards and coatings companies. Phua cites COP26’s Clydebank Declaration and the push to create “green shipping lanes,” which will result in a greater focus on hull coating technologies.