Gorgon Gas Project Tugs Save Fuel Using Battery Power

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Tuesday September 25, 2012

Four new tugboats being built for use in the Gorgon natural gas project off Australia's West Coast will run on more than two megawatts worth of lithium-polymer batteries, reducing both fuel use and emissions according to Corvus Energy, the Canadian company that makes the batteries.

The project, which will be the largest natural resources extraction effort in Australian history, is located in an environmentally sensitive area, and the battery-powered vessels are intended to help minimise pollution.

Corvus said its 48-volt AT6500 batteries are about a quarter the weight of conventional batteries, making them the world's most energy-dense batteries.

"Corvus is thrilled to be part of this major project and have our industrial lithium-polymer battery technology featured in the hybrid tugs," Corvus Energy CEO Brent Perry said in a statement.

"We are confident that our 48-­volt batteries will provide many years of economical operation as well as significantly reducing the environmental impact of such a large and important project," he added.

The batteries, which shipbuilder Siemens AS is using as it builds the tugboats, offer a fuel savings payback in about three years.

The tugs, which have a maximum bollard pull of 75 tonnes, will be used in general offshore operations as the gas field is developed.

The Gorgon project is being developed by a joint venture of ChevronTexaco, Shell, and ExxonMobil, according to Offshore Technology.

The first gas from the area is expected in 2014, and Chevron has supply agreements for 4 million tonnes of natural gas a year.

Chevron Australia says the project includes the construction of a 15 million tonne per annum liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on Barrow Island.