Teekay Gas

Knowing you, Knowing ME-GI

Launched in September 2015, Teekay’s newest LNG carrier Creole Spirit has the potential to save the company $20,000 on the cost of fuel every day. Alongside companion ship Oak Spirit, soon to be delivered from Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) of South Korea, and seven more identical vessels on order, the annual fuel saving could reach $65 million. Of course, it’s unlikely that all nine vessels would sail 365 days a year. But Teekay Gas is pretty busy.

  • Gunvor Hatling Midtbø
    Vice President, Communications

By focusing on individuals you build a better team. Teekay regularly talks to crewmembers to assess their skills and skill gaps, tailoring its training to fill any holes and build overall competence. It’s a process that never stops. Continual improvement is its key to unlocking the full picture.

There’s no black magic at work here. It’s all to do with Teekay’s commitment to continuous improvement, which led to its decision in 2012 to become the first mover on a new technology developed by engine manufacturer MAN. The result is the first two vessels in the world to use M-type, Electronically Controlled, Gas Injection (MEGI) twin engines, which are significantly more fuel-efficient and have lower emission levels than other engines currently being used in LNG shipping. You may have heard it all before. But it seems ME-GI is the real deal. Teekay’s ME-GI powered vessels have a consumption of 100 tonnes, up to 30 tonnes lower when compared to the most efficient Dual Fuel Diesel Electric (DFDE) propulsion systems, which have daily consumption in the region of 125 to 130 tonnes including sea margin. The vessels will also feature best-in-class carrying capacity, and once built will be among the largest LNG carriers able to transit the newly expanded Panama Canal. Continuous improvement indeed.

Note the use of the word ‘potential’ when talking about ME-GI’s ability to reduce fuel costs. After all, efficiency is the result of many different aspects. Not least people. While Teekay, MAN, Daewoo and Kongsberg Maritime with K-Chief 700 have embraced the challenge of perfectly integrating these new engines in two of the world’s most advanced LNG vessels, educating the professional engineers and deck officers in charge of Creole Spirit and Oak Spirit to make the most of ME-GI is just as important. Which is why we have come to Glasgow. With $12 billion in assets and some of the world’s largest fleets in its core offshore, gas and tanker markets, Teekay is a trans-national energy powerhouse. So it’s all the more intriguing as our taxi pulls up outside a distinguished, though somewhat modest terraced office building to meet Teekay Gas’ Training Centre Manager Captain John Williams. The unassuming exterior (scaffolding included) is soon forgotten once inside though. Opened in May 2014, Teekay Gas’ Glasgow training facility is a contemporary space, open plan on entry with doors leading off to specific training and debrief rooms for cargo handling, engine room and ship’s bridge training. The whole set-up feels friendly, a feeling that is cemented when meeting John, a seafarer of 30 years and one time supertanker captain, for the first time. Welcoming as he is, it doesn’t take John long to get down to business, eager to tell us the story behind the training centre he had such an important part in establishing from scratch. The building itself comes up in conversation, a topic that John seems to enjoy. “One of the great things is that when we viewed the building for the first time there was just a small glass partitioned room in one corner and the rest of it was open. So we started with a blank canvas. We got exactly what we wanted. We were able to design the facility with expansion in mind,” he says. It’s this last part that leads us on to the reason we are here. “I knew we’d ordered ships with a new propulsion system,” he starts. “Then it was simply… ‘John you should make some space’.”

Integrated training: Teekay Gas’ KONGSBERG ship-handling simulator is next door to the new ME-GI training facility. The bridge features a K-Chief 700 ME-GI console that will be connected to the ME-GI trainer so what happens there, will affect what happens on the bridge.

Teekay is the first ship owner to order a ME-GI-propelled LNG carrier, which are designed to be significantly more fuel-efficient and have lower emission levels than other engines currently being used in LNG shipping.

The heart of the ME-GI engine consists of the Burckhardt Compressor and the Partial Reliquefaction System. The compressor will take the boil off gas from the cargo tanks and compress it to 300 bar for direct injection into the ME-GI engine. The Partial Reliquefaction will take any of the excess gas not used by the engine and return it to a liquid state to put back into the cargo tank by dropping the excess gas pressure from 300 bar to 3 bar in a pair of Joule Thomson Valves.

It is not just the fuel consumption that makes the two stroke ME-GI system story so compelling. The reduction in the number of cylinders requiring overhaul, the reduction in the size of the complex electrical systems and the introduction of a passive partial
reliquefaction system add to these LNG vessels’ efficiency and further help to reduce the unit freight cost.

making the most out of it. Next door to the ME-GI training room is John’s baby, his fullmission K-Sim Polaris ship handling simulator, which will also play a key role in the forthcoming ME-GI training. Recently delivered is a new K-Chief console, identical to the one found on the deck of Creole Spirit, Oak Spirit and Teekay’s other ME-GI vessels on order. The console is configured for control and monitoring of the ME-GI system by deck officers and at the training centre as in real-life, it will be fully integrated with the engine room equipment. “On gas ships there’s a lot co-operation between the deck and the engine departments because of the relationship between the two systems. It’s totally integrated,” explains John. “It’s not just engineers on this course. Masters will have to understand how the whole system works. So too will Chief Officers because they are for all intents and purposes in charge of the cargo and of course the engineers, who are in charge of the propulsion system.” “One of the great things about the trainer is that it’s an exact mirror. We can get the guys from the ship in here for a week, so when they go on the ship they’re not faffing around, they know where everything is and what it does, despite it being a brand new system.” There’s a lot of work before John can get the lucky crew assigned to the historic first Creole Spirit run out gathered in Glasgow for training. To start, John and nine other Teekay Gas people are attending a training course at Kongsberg Maritime in Aberdeen, to gain a strong understanding of the ME-GI system and the training systems. Once completed, Morten Steffensen, Product Advisor and ME-GI expert from Kongsberg Maritime’s Global Customer Support Training team will be training the trainers at Teekay in Glasgow. After this, Teekay and Kongsberg Maritime will as John puts it, “Thrash out the actual course, with the aim of having the ship’s crew for full training at the beginning of December.” We met John at the end of September. No pressure then.

Luckily, John is confident in his chosen training partner. Of course, Kongsberg Maritime was the obvious choice for this course. K-Chief 700 is on all of Teekay’s ME-GI vessels. But a productive training relationship between the two goes back as far as 2007. We’re talking much longer as an equipment supplier for Teekay’s ships.
“There are several equipment manufacturers and training providers out there. We’ve probably looked at most of them and talked to people that run other manufacturers equipment. But Kongsberg Maritime has got the better functionality and it improves year on year.” There’s that focus on improvement again. It’s also telling that a pre-requisite for Teekay’s international 3rd party training partners is that they have some kind of relationship with KONGSBERG. Being a global organisation, John is pragmatic when it comes to the logistics of training everyone in Glasgow. “It’s not economical to get everyone here. It’s nice to do that but we have to be realistic, so we use preferred partners, he says. “A few weeks ago I was in India, doing an audit on a training centre we use there for a bridge team course. I get to see quite a few training centres in different countries. I go out and audit them. Sit in for a week. Look at the establishment, the instructors, the qualifications of instructors, methods of delivery of the course and then have a two way discussion. Regardless, we always chose places with Kongsberg
Maritime equipment.”

Captain John Williams at the opening of Teekay’s Glasgow training centre.

Length – 294.9 m
Breadth – 46.4 m
Depth – 26.5 m

NO. 1 Cargo – 24,620 m3
NO. 2 Cargo – 50,180 m3
NO. 3 Cargo – 50,180 m3
NO. 4 Cargo – 48,420 m3
Total – 173,400 m3

Type and number – MAN B&W 5G70ME-C9.2-GI x 2 set (Derated)
MCR – 12,520 kW x 69.1 rpm, each
NCR – 10,775 kW x 65.7 rpm, each

Course development at Teekay is undertaken by experienced professionals, both maritime and academic - working closely with the end users and partners. A key tool Teekay uses for pinpointing the training needs of its people is the competence management system, SCOPE (seafarer’s competence for operational excellence). By talking to every individual on board its ships on a regular basis Teekay can identify gaps in training and utilising IMO model courses and tailored training, the input necessary for designing the course is garnered. SCOPE is another example of continuous improvement at Teekay. There are many others. John tells us for instance how he uses the simulators to review at-sea incidents and implement change based on this research. “We’re a learning organisation. We learn from things going wrong. You look at a near miss for example. Even minor near misses you can learn from. If we have an incident there is an investigation. When the report is completed we’ll distribute it to the vessels for the Master to communicate the advice to everyone – at all levels. We include root courses, contributory causes and of course what we can do to stop it happening again.” Of course, this kind of feedback is, rightly so, somewhat standard in quality shipping firms, but Teekay’s approach takes it one step further “We developed a dynamic learning tool. We take an investigation report, make a story board and working with a third party we animate it. You can see the story developing on screen and in a small window you can see the navigation instruments and important environmental data. It details the whole scenario step by step in an easy to understand, and digest manner. We also provide a coaching guide so the Master can communicate the learning points optimally.” “Everything we do is aimed at continuous improvements,” adds John as if on cue. The maritime industry is dynamic, change being the only constant; so it is with the courses offered at the Teekay training centre. New knowledge, changing regulations, and feedback from course participants keep its courses up to date and current. The development of the ME-GI course is a prime example of how Teekay embraces the industry’s dynamism, to support its business and customers. Talking to John we leave with the impression that the company has fostered a culture of quality and improvement across the board, especially when it comes to people and processes. “We want to be a cut above the rest,” says John. “We are all fighting for the same business so if we can be just a little bit better than the opposition then hopefully the customers will come to us first. We deliver the overall package. We have good ships, so we need good people to make them run at an optimum level.”

Captain John Williams Training Centre Manager, Teekay Gas