Speakers at Gastech 2014 discussed the challenges facing Shell’s Prelude FLNG which is set to be the largest floating facility ever built. Once completed by Samsung Heavy Industries, the floating LNG (FLNG) unit will operate offshore Northwestern Australia for a period of 25 years, although this will not come without difficulties.
Alain Poincheval, Executive Project Director for Technip, said that the marine environment posed challenges in engineering, such as the ability to offload LNG between two vessels on the high seas, import large quantities of high pressure feed gas on a floating facility, and in adapting to gas processing facilities to a marine environment, among others.
Supply chain challenges
Ciaran McIntyre, Head of Compliance Projects in Korea for Lloyd’s Register, spoke of the challenges for the supply chain and FLNG vessels. With the growth of large projects in Asia in FLNG, he said, almost everything about the supply chain has changed, with anticipated and unanticipated challenges arising. The industry anticipated challenges in size and design life, hull configuration, LNG containment, liquefaction process, and offloading, he said.
Mclntyre added that the FLNG market is extremely fast moving and that the supply chain is struggling to keep up. This has made the supply chain susceptible to leakages, dilution of standards, paralysis, commercial pressure, and transformation, a situation in which high standards slowly transform into the lowest cost tender the further one moves down the supply chain.
To manage this, Mclntyre warned of relying on approved supplier lists, standardising as far as possible, identifying project-specific requirements up front, and setting simply acceptance or rejection standards, among other considerations.
Saad Al-Jaabi, Senior Engineer for Systems Completions at RasGas Company Limited, discussed integrated natural gas liquids (NGL)/nitrogen recover (NR) technology. He said the project would be used for the first time in Qatar on the Barzan Gas Project, a joint venture project between Qatar Petroleum (QP) and ExxonMobil.
RasGas initiated a study to evaluate process licensors’ capability to supply an integrated proess design for recovering NGL and rejecting nitrogen for the Barzan Gas Project.
“RasGas, along with Chart Energy Chemicals Inc., demonstrated the ability to meet all requirements to remove the nitrogen and helium and produce sales gas within the required specification,” Al-Jaabi said.
The technology licensor demonstrated the ability to provide an integrated NGL/NR process that utilizes both a proven Brazen Aluminum Heat Exchanger (BAHX) supplier, and high efficiency compression to meet final sales gas delivery requirements, among other considerations.
Promoting LNG as a cleaner and cheaper energy around the world can greatly reduce CO2 emissions, but it was up to the LNG industry to keep the public informed of its benefits, stressed Laura Musick, Process Engineering for Black & Veatch.
“Natural gas is cleaner. The real question: Is it cheaper?” she said. Last year, diesel for transportation was US$ 3.95 per gal., while LNG was US$ 2.87 per diesel gal. equivalent.
“We have to be willing to create our own market opportunities and serve all of our customers,” she added. Floating units like the EMAR Caribbean FLNG can allow companies to reach LNG resources that would otherwise be difficult. “It’s our responsibility as the natural gas industry to spread the information necessary for investors and governing bodies to make informed decisions,” she concluded.
Adapted from press release by Ted Monroe
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