POSCO has joined hands with ExxonMobil to make a foray into the liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and fuel tank market.
The Korean steelmaker developed cryogenic high manganese steel (HMS) in 2013 for the first time in the world to target the LNG storage and transport market. In 2019, the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved interim guidelines on using HMS for cryogenic LNG storage and fuel tanks.
The world LNG market is expected to place orders for 890 LNG fuel tanks and 4,700 LNG-powered ships by 2030. POSCO stands to benefit from surging demand for HMS.
POSCO signed a business agreement with ExxonMobil RE in New Jersey, ExxonMobil URC in Texas, and the POSCO Technology Research Institute in Pohang accelerate application of HMS to the LNG storage and transport market.
Under the agreement, the two companies will apply HMS to overseas LNG projects and cooperate in developing technology to introduce HMS to the energy industry as a whole.
POSCO will first push to apply HMS to storage tanks that will be built in global LNG projects ordered by ExxonMobil in the future.
HMS was first applied to Gwangyang LNG Storage Tank No. 5, proving its performance and safety. HMS maintains excellent performance even in an cryogenic environment of minus 196 degrees Celsius. In terms of price, it is more competitive than nickel alloy steel currently used for LNG tanks.
POSCO began research on HMS in 2008 and completed HMS mass-production technology in 2013.
A partnership between POSCO and ExxonMobil is nothing new. Through technical cooperation for five years from 2012 to 2017, the two jointly developed a slurry pipe, which is a pipe for transporting oil sand containing crude oil, with a high manganese material.