DNV Completes Study on LNG Marine Releases

Det Norske Veritas (DNV), a leading worldwide authority on LNG shipping and risk management, has performed a detailed study on the consequences of marine LNG releases. DNV's purpose in undertaking this study was not to endorse any particular LNG development project, but rather to provide an independent, objective and validated analysis of LNG marine events that could be used by all parties in the relevant debate surrounding the development of LNG import and export facilities.

Based on its considerable and detailed knowledge of the design and operation of LNG ships, combined with its industry leading consequence analysis software, DNV predicts smaller hazard zones than those quoted by some previous studies. DNV believes earlier studies did not sufficiently credit the design features of LNG ships and thus used non-credible or overly pessimistic assumptions of hole sizes and LNG spill volumes. This together with the use of conservative fire and vapor dispersion models generated excessive consequence zones.

Furthermore, while no assessment of the actual likelihood of the events was included in the study, the historical record of LNG shipping suggests that an accidental large scale release is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future of the LNG trade into the USA. The excellent safety record is due to the combination of very robust vessel design (with 4 to 5 physical barriers between the cargo and the environment), well executed vessel operations (driven by IMO and global industry standards) and port state precautions (driven by organizations such as the US Coast Guard).

In undertaking the study, DNV utilized its most qualified resources, validated models and highly defensible, credible assumptions. In addition, in order to draw upon the best available knowledge and experience, DNV sought advice and input from a wide and varied range of other organizations, such as the 23 sponsor companies and other research organizations. Meetings were held with Sandia National Laboratories, which is currently working on behalf of the DOE on related issues. Although Sandia provided useful interaction regarding DNV's approach and assumptions, no specific data was provided to DNV by Sandia nor has DNV viewed their report.