Bids go in for Edison small-scale LNG ship

Shipowners have submitted their offers for a small-scale LNG carrier to Italian energy company Edison.

Brokers say bids went in at the end of September for the 27,500-cbm vessel, which Edison wants to use to move LNG into facilities it is looking to build at Ravenna in Italy and Oristano on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia.

They say there is considerable interest in the pricing of a vessel of this size.

The bulk of small-scale LNG newbuildings contracted so far have been in the 5,000-cbm to 7,500-cbm size range to serve as purpose-built bunker vessels. And prices have proved high, with the first two vessels each coming in at $50m-plus.

Stolt-Nielsen’s recent order for up to five 7,500-cbm small-scale LNG carriers, which will be built in China, has seen a new low of $37m for vessels of this size.

But with the possible uptake of LNG fuelling by large containership operators, LNG bunker vessels of closer to 20,000 cbm could be required, with sufficient capacity to supply ships trading on long-haul routes with tight turnarounds.

Edison has at least two LNG import projects in play that could use small-scale LNG tonnage.

The company has been considering building 10,000-cbm of LNG storage at Oristano to supply gas into the Sardinian network. The facility could also double up as an LNG bunkering facility. However, it remains unclear as to whether this has now been put on the back burner since Stolt-Nielsen also announced similar plans for the same location.

On the Italian mainland, Edison also plans to build a 20,000-cbm LNG storage plant at Ravenna in the north of the country that is targeted to come online in 2020. A second phase would see capacity at the facility doubled.

Small-scale vessels would be used for imports to the Ravenna plant with onward distribution by truck or coastal vessels.