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Building LNG capabilities

1 November 2017

Construction work on BP Shipping’s new LNG fleet is on target, with the first launch completed at the end of September. So, attention has now turned to making sure that the crews are ready.

Sailing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier requires different skills to those needed on an oil tanker. The six state-of-the-art LNG vessels being built for BP Shipping in South Korea as part of Project Delphi also have engines and systems associated with propulsion and reliquefaction that are the most sophisticated ever used in their class.


So, BP Shipping and BP Maritime Services (BPMS) have embarked on a comprehensive training programme to make sure that the ships have crews with the right capabilities to ensure safe and effective operations. Four of the new Delphi carriers will be inducted into the European fleet, where there’s already significant LNG expertise, thanks to the Gem and outgoing Trader classes, as well as the veteran Northwest Shearwater. But, the other two vessels will be inducted into the Indian fleet, where LNG transportation is a completely new discipline.


“Our challenge is to put together crews with the right skills and necessary experience,” says Kevin D’Souza, head of performance and development for BPMS. “For the European fleet, the approach taken for selection of officers is organic, as the skill set already exists there. The approach we’ve chosen for the Indian fleet, however, is to fill 50% of positions with officers from the Indian LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) fleet. They obviously have gas experience and are familiar with BP’s standards and requirements, but need specific LNG operational training. The other 50% will be external recruits, who have LNG skills but need the BP training.”

Cargo tank - on-board the British Partner

NO96 technology membrane containment system for the transportation and storage of LNG

A total of 14 external officers have already been recruited and 10 internal BP officers selected from the LPG fleet to start their Delphi training, which includes on-board practical experience in the European fleet. Recruitment for junior deck and engineer positions begins in December, again with a 50/50 internal/external split.


“This is obviously a significant investment when you factor in the total training costs and familiarization required for this project. But, it’s a price worth paying, because we need crews who can meet the high standards required by BP,” Kevin explains. “We’ve been extremely strict in our recruitment process as a result. Half of all applicants were rejected at CV stage because they didn’t have sufficient experience. Only one in five of those interviewed made it through to the BP panel stage and only half of those were eventually appointed.” Training in LPG is also now under way for oil tanker officers from the Indian fleet, in order to fill the positions vacated by those moving to LNG. 

Photograph of Steel cutting sign for Hull 2443

Liam Hyland and his wife Tréise who had the honour of pressing the button for the first steel cut of H2443.

It was a great learning experience sailing on board the British Ruby as a cross-training officer. It gave me the opportunity to work, discuss and share the experiences of officers and engineers on the Gem class.”
Satinder Singh Nara

Apart from the vital LNG learning, it was a good opportunity to interact with people from various cultural backgrounds – British, Irish, Polish, Scottish and Filipino. They all bonded and demonstrated the importance of our core values and unity in diversity.
NakulY Kulkarni
I was a bit nervous moving out of my LPG comfort zone and working with the European fleet, but it made me realize that, at BP, we are not only one team, but also one big family.
Vishal Singh

Milestones marked


  1. The first Delphi vessel has moved another step nearer to completion at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea, following the welding together of almost 60 pre-constructed blocks and float out at the end of September. 
  2. Commissioning of systems and equipment for H2441 will begin in time for scheduled mooring trials in early- January 2018, with sea and gas trials taking place in March. 
  3. One further keel in the series will be laid by the end of this year and steel will be cut on the sixth and final Delphi vessel at the start of December. 
  4. In line with efforts to include families of staff in the project, Tréise Hyland, the wife of HSSE superintendent Liam Hyland, pressed the button to cut first steel for H2443, shortly after giving birth to the couple’s first child. 
  5. Delphi team hull inspectors Jeong Rok Kang and Yunsik Choo did the honours for HN2444. And, earlier in the year, it was the turn of Septi Linda Herawati, partner of site construction manager Sandy Farquhar, to perform the ceremony for HN2442. 
  6. The entire Delphi fleet is expected to be in operation by March 2019, when the ships will be used to transport gas from the Freeport LNG project in the US. 
Infographic illistrating vessel class comparison

Vessel class comparison

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