Energy Efficiency High on Samsung’s Efforts in Shipbuilding

July 3, 2012
Samsung Heavy Industries "has spared no efforts" in its work to develop green technologies for use in oil and gas ships and offshore platforms. ABB is helping the company improve energy efficiency by supplying $80 million worth of electrical systems for seven new vessels.

Applying new technologies to facilitate oil and gas exploration, extraction and transport from the deep sea and other new sources represents a key global megatrend. Furthering that trend, energy-efficient electrical systems are being specified for five drill ships and two liquefied natural gas (LNG) carriers being built by Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI, This branch of the giant South Korean holding company claims to be the world’s number one drill-ship maker with global market share of 61 percent.

Since it launched the shipbuilding business (and as of December 31, 2011), Samsung Heavy Industries has received orders for 976 units of ships from the world’s leading shippers and has successfully delivered 797 units of ships.  The company prides itself on technology innovation.

According to the company’s website, its number one ranking is due to its ability to deliver “high-tech ships with high added value.” In 2009, it built the world’s first green LNG-SRV, which won the Green Ship Award as the world’s most eco-friendly ship. In September 2011, it successfully developed a cargo hold for membrane-type LNG carriers, which the company calls “a Korean first, strengthening its competitiveness in LNG carrier building.

“SHI has spared no efforts in its work to develop green technologies, particularly in improving the operating efficiency of its ships to reduce CO₂ emissions during operation,” according to a company spokesman. Electrical energy efficiency is also a priority.

Zurich-based power and automation technology company ABB ( recently won an order worth $80 million to supply the energy efficient drives, motors and electrical power systems. The project will be commissioned between 2014 and 2015. The vessels, used to extract, process and transport oil and gas, will be built at Samsung’s shipyard in Korea.

Samsung is building five drill ships—three for Seadrill Ltd. in Norway, one for Pacific Drilling S.A in Brazil, and one for Ensco Plc in the U.K. The two LNG carrier vessels are being built for Golar LNG Ltd in the U.K. ABB will deliver the complete electrical system for the seven vessels, including power generation and distribution equipment and systems, variable frequency drives and motors to power main propulsion systems and thrusters, as well as drives to power the topside drilling equipment.

According to Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division, ABB’s delivery will help the ships maximize their energy efficiency, as well as provide a reliable power supply to improve the use of onboard equipment. “Our vast oil and gas industry expertise and resources help us to address the unique process requirements and operational challenges of offshore and at sea operations,” he added.

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