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ORLEN Group reaches another milestone as it secures “custom-built” LNG carriers

The biggest energy company in the region, the ORLEN Group, announced earlier today that it has secured its own exclusive “custom-built” LNG carriers. The first 2 carriers are expected to arrive as early as next year, with additional 6 carriers arriving by the end of 2025. The two LNG vessels were ordered by PGNiG Supply & Trading, an ORLEN Group company specialising in LNG trading.

Having its own fleet of LNG vessels, the ORLEN Group will be able to “efficiently manage shipments” to Poland and “strengthen its position in the global LNG market”.

Following an official naming ceremony in South Korea, the first ship was named Lech Kaczyński and the second Grażyna Gęsicka. This is a symbolic gesture of remembrance to the late Professor Lech Kaczyński, President of the Republic of Poland and the late Grażyna Gęsicka, Minister of Regional Development, for their commitment to Poland’s energy independence and the country’s economic development.

“For the energy security of Poland, it is crucial to diversify the supply of oil and natural gas – the latter we already import one hundred per cent from outside Russia. This is the result of a consistently implemented LNG import strategy. The shipments of liquefied natural gas already cover almost thirty per cent of our country’s demand. LNG supplies are secured not only by means of contracts but also by developing our own fleet. Custom-built vessels for our exclusive use guarantee the stability of transport and strengthen the company’s position in the global LNG market,” said Daniel Obajtek, CEO of PKN ORLEN.

Both vessels were built by the South Korean global shipbuilding company, Hyundai Heavy Industries. The construction of each ship took around 18 months. As stated in the press release by the ORLEN Group, the ships are the “most modern vessels of their kind in the world”.

Accelerating LNG supplies with “cutting-edge” engineering technology

The ORLEN Group will use the ships under a long-term charter deal with the Norwegian Knutsen OAS Shipping, specialising in the maintenance and commercial operation of LNG tankers. Under the contract, the shipowner will be responsible for manning the chartered vessels and keeping them in good technical condition, while PGNiG Supply & Trading will have full commercial control over their operation.

“Knutsen OAS Shipping is very pleased to have established a long-term relationship with PGNIG Supply and Trading. These safe, reliable and state-of-the-art environmentally friendly LNG carriers will help them to succeed in their LNG business,” said Trygve Seglem, the Owner of Knutsen Group.

The charter deal is signed for 10 years with an extension option. Each vessel can carry a cargo of about 70,000 tonnes of LNG, equivalent to around 100 mcm of re-gasified natural gas. This volume is equivalent to the annualised average weekly consumption by all Polish households. The “versatile” size of the ordered vessels will enable loading and unloading gas at ports that cannot be entered by the larger LNG carriers.

The first two ships of the ORLEN Group’s fleet were built using “cutting-edge” engineering technology. For example, one of the features includes a very low rate of boil-off losses. Additionally, boil-off gas can be reverted to liquid state thanks to onboard re-liquefaction systems. The vessels’ engines can run on both diesel oil and natural gas, which will ensure compliance with environmental standards for maritime transport going forward.

Lech Kaczyński has already undergone sea trials and will enter service under the ORLEN flag early next year, while Grażyna Gęsicka will deliver its first LNG cargo in the second half of next year. The vessels will be used to deliver LNG purchased under both long-term contracts and spot contracts on a free-on-board (FOB) basis, where the buyer assumes responsibility for collecting and shipping the goods.

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