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Smit Lamnalco has secured a 10-year marine support and towage contract covering ExxonMobil-led LNG export terminal operations in Papua New Guinea, representing the first formal service agreement to be won under the service company’s new name and identity.
The contract, to provide tugboats and crews to assist berthing and un-berthing of LNG carriers, is worth approximately $120 million over the period, which could be extended to 25 years.
The PNG LNG project is one of the Asia Pacific region’s most significant opportunities to tap new LNG sources. Ultimately, it is expected to produce over nine trillion cu ft of gas for export. Already, four major customers are committed to accepting LNG produced: Chinese Petroleum Corp., Taiwan; Osaka Gas Co. Ltd.; The Tokyo Electric Power Co. Inc.; and Unipec Asia Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec).
Shoreside, the project involves the development of liquefaction, storage and handling facilities 20 km northwest of Port Moresby with capacity to export 6.6 metric tons per year from 2014. Over 700 km of pipelines will connect to operations offshore in the Gulf of Papua. Terminal construction is being overseen by the BAMClough joint venture between BAM International and Clough Ltd.
The Smit Lamnalco agreement specifies deployment of four newbuild RAstar 3200-class 65 ton bollard pull Azimuth Stern Drive tugs to provide escort and LNG terminal towage services. The RAstar design, from Robert Allen, is distinguished by its hull form, which has been proven to provide significantly enhanced escort towing and sea-keeping performance.
In line with its strategy of developing expertise locally, Smit Lamnalco’s new vessels will operate under the PNG flag. Smit Lamnalco is also committed to ensuring that local staff onshore and local seafarers on board the ASDs will play a key role in operations.