The Q-Flex MV Mesaimeer, one of the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers of its kind, arrived last Tuesday at Saint John, NB, to deliver 4.6 Bcf of LNG to the Canaport LNG regasification terminal.

The ship is the first LNG super tanker to arrive on North America’s East Coast and is the first LNG tanker from Qatar to call on a Canadian port, according to Repsol YPF, a partner in the Canaport terminal. The ship traveled 9,300 miles over 22 days from Ras Laffan Industrial City in Qatar.

“This is an extraordinary moment for us and validates Canaport LNG’s capabilities to receive such vessels, enabling Repsol to work with one of the most substantial gas-rich nations in the world,” said Phil Ribbeck, president of Repsol Energy North America.

Equipped with an onboard reliquefaction system, the tanker can reliquefy boil off gas from the LNG cargo and return it to the cargo tank, allowing for almost 100% of the cargo to be transported to customers (Traditional steam turbine ships use the boil off gas as fuel). Propelled by two slow-speed diesel engines, the tanker is estimated to consume about 40% less energy and have lower carbon emissions than traditional steam turbines.

The Q-Flex can carry 216,000 cubic meters of LNG, or roughly 4.6 Bcfe of natural gas. One Q-Flex shipment can fill approximately half of Canaport LNG’s storage capacity, according to Repsol. The Q-Flex is the second largest LNG carrier in the world. The Q-Max is the largest and can carry 266,000 cubic meters of LNG, or roughly 5.7 Bcfe.

“The Canaport LNG Terminal in Saint John is among the very few terminals in the world that can accept a ship of the Q-Max and Q-Flex’s size. This marks a new era for our region and for Canaport LNG as a significant player in the global gas industry,” said Blaine Higgs of Fort Reliance, parent of Canaport partner Irving Oil of Canada.

The arrival of the Q-Flex marks the 10th ship received at Canaport LNG since its commissioning on June 22. The terminal has received LNG from Trinidad and Tobago, Egypt and now Qatar. In October Ribbeck told NGI that gas sendout from Canaport could reach 600 MMcf/d next year. “We contemplate that the facility is going to be much more utilized in the coming months as well as over the period of next year,” he said (see NGI, Oct. 19).

Qatar has the third-largest oil and gas reserves in the world (about 14% of the world total) with proved oil reserves of 15 billion bbl and proved natural gas reserves of nearly 920 Tcf. In 2008 Qatar exported 2 Tcf of gas.

Also last week, Russia’s Gazprom and Norway’s Statoil said they were finalizing agreements for Gazprom to import LNG to the regasification terminal at Cove Point, MD, and Barclays Capital and Excelerate Energy LLC struck an LNG marketing agreement (see related story).

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