lng transfer takes centre stage at gastech

4 April 2017


Houlder and KLAW LNG discuss the KHOBRA hybrid transfer arm at GasTech Product Showcase, Wednesday 5th April.

LNG bunkering, particularly at small to mid-scale, is presenting some of today’s most interesting engineering challenges. The requirements are to provide standard and simple interfaces between a wide variety of supply and receiver vessels. This has to be achieved in a range of marine environments and support various operational performance targets.  At the same time, those tasked with supplying equipment have an ongoing requirement to comply with evolving industry and safety standards and guidelines.

In moving from larger scale LNG transfer, it seems choices are being made between the flexibility and practicality of a lazy hose system and a fixed loading arm. Houlder however saw that innovation in LNG bunkering could build on these two proven, trusted engineered solutions rather than choose between them.  The advantages of this approach, compared to loading arms alone for example, include a more flexible operating envelope, lower maintenance due to a lack of swivel joints and lower CAPEX and OPEX costs.

The result of Houlder’s work, in partnership with KLAW LNG, is the KHOBRA transfer system.  KHOBRA is a hybrid transfer solution that bridges the gap between hose and fixed loading arm options while benefitting from proven technology. The KLAW Emergency Release Coupling (ERC) transfer system, which uses the same hose technology, has undertaken over 1000 successful LNG transfers to date for example. Suitable for a quayside or ship based installation, KHOBRA provides an all-in-one solution that users can truly have confidence in.

KHOBRA systems are compatible with a range of manifold configurations and positions on receiving vessels.  They provide a simple interface with no requirement to rig additional hoses. They incorporate a cryogenic auto sealing dry coupler for quick connection and disconnection and a hydraulically powered active Emergency Release System (ERS).  This ensures the highest level of operational safety and saves time between transfer operations.


At the Gastech Product Showcase, Gianpaolo Benedetti, Houlder LNG Business Development Manager and other members of the team will present the iterative design process that has led to the adoption of this hybrid approach.  Gianpaolo describes the system as “comprising a crane, a motion compensating deployable ERS manifold and a gas system. They handle two bunkering lines for the transfer of liquid LNG and return vapour.  During bunkering operations, the gas system is deployed by the crane and connected to the receiving vessel’s manifold in a safe and controlled manner.”

Gianpaolo concludes, “Houlder and KLAW LNG’s new transfer system illustrates the value of innovation in driving LNG infrastructure forward. We fully understood proven reliable technologies before combining them to provide a new, effective end-user solution.”

The Product Showcase “Designing the Future in LNG Bunkering” is on Wednesday, April 5th 11:00am – 11:25am, Gastech Exhibition and Conference, Chiba, Tokyo. You can also learn more on the KLAW LNG stand (14-300) at the event.

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