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Increasing safety in side-by-side LNG transfer

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LNG Industry,

As the LNG supply chain continues to extend, moving into areas such as offshore and small scale LNG projects, and the global LNG terminal infrastructure expands, the main challenge for transfer equipment suppliers, such as MIB Italiana S.P.A., is to meet the need for safer, more flexible and adaptable transfer solutions.

Factors that need to be accommodated in such solutions include equipment design, weight, multiple diameters/pressures and after sales activities including comprehensive operator training and detailed maintenance procedures.

MIB Italiana S.P.A. is primarily known in the LNG sector for its quick connect/disconnect (QCDC) couplers and safety systems for use with conventional, jetty-mounted marine loading arms.

To meet the stringent demands of floating LNG (FLNG) and floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) projects, MIB launched a fully integrated, custom-engineered emergency release system for use in ship-to-ship (STS) transfers of LNG. The package is a one-stop solution for ship owners seeking to implement side-by-side STS transfers of LNG either from floating production (FLNG) vessels or to FSRUs.

The fully Integrated STS LNG transfer package is installed on the import and export vessel (FSRU or FLNG) mid-ship manifold piping, typically 16 in. size, via the Y-piece or single reducers, typically to 10 in. size, and, together with their common hydraulic power/control unit, provides a quick and safe means of isolating and then releasing each of the flexible hoses under adverse or emergency situations.

The package, capable to handle both liquid and vapour return flows, consists of the following main systems:

  • The double ball valve Emergency Release Systems (ERS).
  • A set of cryogenic flexible hoses for LNG transfer.
  • A hydraulic power and control unit.
  • A set of guide/support saddles with integrated braking system for a controlled hose release.
  • A ship-to-ship positioning for emergency activation of the equipment.
  • A set of ‘Y’ or single piece reducers to connect to the 16 in. ship manifold and splitting the flow from the manifold through two hose lines (typically 10 in. size, or smaller).

The system merges the experiences in providing equipment for both conventional LNG terminal and non-cryogenic offshore transfer operations.

The solution, which integrates specialised solutions into a full, comprehensive package for a particular LNG transfer application, also aims to reduce the interface issues of the client, shipyard or contractor, as well as the provision of a one off guarantee.

The system has been successfully tested and is entering into operation in 2014 in specific offshore LNG projects in the Northern Europe and Indonesia respectively.

Written by Matteo Suzzani, MIB Italiana S.P.A., Italy. Adapted to house style by 

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