Global Transport Standards and Their Impact on Choice of Cryogenic Valves


Historically LNG has been shipped in large liquefied natural gas carriers (LNGC) with capacities of up to 260,000 cubic meters (cbm) over long distances from gas rich countries to developed countries. The rules and regulations surrounding ships built for this purpose are well established and are known as the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk (IGC Code).

The IGC Code first adopted in 1983 provides an international standard for the safe carriage by sea of liquefied gases (and other substances listed in the Code) in bulk by prescribing the design and construction standards of ships carrying these cargoes and the equipment they are entitled to carry. 

The Code is currently being revised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) (imo.org) following a comprehensive five year review, which has taken into account the latest advances in technology and new applications for LNG within the marine sector. The revised version is expected to be adopted by the IMO in 2014, offering an improved regulatory framework. 

One of the most important requirements of the IGC Code is that LNG cryogenic valves are “firesafe.” The IGC Code explicitly states that “Material having a melting point below 925°C should not be used for piping outside the gas tanks.” Piping includes valves. To meet this requirement and enhance safety of valves when used in marine applications, our engineers designed an “all metal” valve. This means that if any valve is exposed to a fire onboard a ship, the valve integrity is maintained and there is no leakage of gas through the seat of the valve, which could cause a fire to escalate. 

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