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New technology enables shuttle tankers to capture VOC emissions and use them as fuel. Teekay will put the tankers into operation in 2020.
Shuttle tankers are the primary alternative to pipelines for transporting offshore oil to onshore refineries. About half of North Sea oil is transported to the UK and Norway on board shuttle tankers, and the vessels are also popular in South America.
Today, after decades of operation, almost 40 per cent of shuttle tankers servicing the North Sea are due to be replaced.
The necessity of satisfying environmental regulations on the Norwegian continental shelf has given rise to invention. One of these is Teekay’s new hybrid shuttle tanker, which captures harmful emissions and uses them as fuel.
When loading crude oil from an offshore platform onto a shuttle tanker, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released – on average 100 metric tons per journey. Teekay’s innovative tankers will capture these VOCs, mix them with LNG, and use the mix to power its tankers.
The new tankers are equipped with battery packs to further supplement the LNG engines. Together with the VOC capture, this will cut the LNG consumption by more than a third.
Teekay’s hybrid shuttle tankers can transport around 850 000 barrels of crude oil each. They are expected to reduce annual carbon emissions by over 40 per cent, nitrogen emissions by over 80 per cent and sulphur emissions by nearly 100 per cent, compared to traditional shuttle tankers.
The first vessel is due for delivery in 2019, with the remaining three scheduled for delivery in 2020. This could mark a watershed for the offshore industry.
The VOC/LNG mixing technology could – if successful – impact the design of other shuttle tankers in the future. The use of batteries on ships of this size, meanwhile, could have ramifications for global shipping beyond the oil sector.
Hybrid shuttle tankers with dual LNG-electric engines
Ground-breaking system for using VOC emissions as fuel
Reduces CO₂ emissions by over 40%, NOₓ emissions by over 80%, and SOₓ emissions by nearly 100%