Brunvoll – “70% of shuttle tanker thruster market”

Jun 18 2020

With a contract from Malaysian shipping company AET, Brunvoll says it now has 70 per cent of the market for thrusters for dynamic positioning systems on shuttle tankers, based on vessels it estimates are in operation around the world.

Norwegian thruster manufacturer Brunvoll has signed a contract with Hyundai Heavy Industries for three 155,000 dwt shuttle tankers being built for Malaysian shipping company AET. They will be put into operation in oilfields outside Brazil.


The tankers will be fitted with two “tunnel” thrusters and three retractable azimuth thrusters (which can provide thrust in different directions), with a total power of 13,700 kW.


This is one of the largest single orders in Brunvoll’s history.  It follows a similar contract for five vessels ordered by AET being built by Samsung in South Korea.


Brunvoll calculates that it has a 70 per cent market share of dynamic positioning systems for shuttle tankers, based on there being 84 vessels in operation (under 20 years old, usually the maximum age oil companies allow) and on order in the world.


The contracts mean that Brunvoll’s production facility in Molde, Norway will be running at “high capacity” during 2020.


“With this contract and several other deliveries to the same segment, we are consolidating our position as preferred partner for thruster systems for DP shuttle tankers for leading players with operations in the northern regions and in Brazilian waters,” says Per Olav Løkseth, marketing director at Brunvoll.


“This order makes us optimistic about winning further contracts for delivery of our propulsion and thruster systems to shuttle tankers that are in the planning process, both in the short term and in the years to come, as the shipping companies renew their fleets.”


“We are committed to optimizing our complete solutions for propulsion and manoeuvring systems for the next generation of shuttle tankers.”


Careful attention is made to the design of the propeller nozzle (the metal ring around the propeller), the propeller blade, and the thruster body, to achieve the optimum hydrodynamic design, which means maximum thrust for energy used, with minimum vibration.


Brunvoll has participated in a number of joint industry projects over the past few decades to find an optimum hydrodynamic designed propeller.


The thrusters are used as part of the vessel’s dynamic positioning system, keeping it in a fixed location without needing mooring, such as for loading at offshore oil platforms, enabling the tanker to stay close to the platform but without risking colliding into it.


They are not normally used by regular tankers, which are able to rely on tugs for support.


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