Floating LNG is Coming of Age
- Michael S. Choi (ConocoPhillips)
- Document ID
- Offshore Technology Conference
- Offshore Technology Conference-Asia, 25-28 March, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2014. Offshore Technology Conference
- 5.2.1 Phase Behavior and PVT Measurements, 4.2.4 Risers, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.1.4 Gas Processing, 4.5.4 Mooring Systems, 4.3.1 Hydrates, 4.1.6 Compressors, Engines and Turbines, 3 Production and Well Operations, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 6.5.5 Oil and Chemical Spills, 3.4.1 Inhibition and Remediation of Hydrates, Scale, Paraffin / Wax and Asphaltene
- LNG production, Mooring and risers, LNG regasification, Subsea well and controls, Floating LNG
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Global LNG trade is expected to more than double to more than 725 Mtpa by 2020. Some of the new projects will be developed with floating LNG (FLNG) technologies, perhaps even with a full floating LNG chain: FPSO for LNG production in the field, offshore LNG transfer to shuttle tankers, and floating receiving terminal that leads to the eventual gas distribution grid.
There are already many floating LNG receiving terminals operating successfully in the world. Now that construction has started on the Shell Prelude FLNG, floating LNG chain will finally be completed in 2016. Undoubtedly, more projects will follow. The economics of floating LNG is too compelling. Major cost savings can be achieved by: eliminating well head/production platform(s); processing platform to facilitate gas treating, liquids recovery and stabilization; FSO for condensate and NGL; gas compressor and pipeline to an LNG plant onshore; with a FLNG system located in the field. There are also the intangible cost savings such as efficiency gains by constructing the entire system in a ship yard, material and manpower logistics, and shorter project duration.
Many technologies have combined to make floating LNG chain a reality. Reliable subsea well and control systems have mitigated the risks of well operations. Proven glycol (MEG) and other regenerative hydrate management systems have allowed longer tie-back distance. Cost-effective mooring systems for large FPSO, flexible flowlines and catenary risers have enable floating system of FLNG size to be considered seriously. However, it is the advances in floating LNG technologies that have evolved over the past 25 years that finally tipped the risk-reward equation. Technologies such as offshore ship-to-ship transfer, motion tolerant processing and rotating equipment, LNG spill and gas safety, and deepwater cooling have matured to an acceptable stage.
This paper will present the economic drivers that make FLNG chain attractive to producers and buyers alike, and the many conventional production technologies and those unique to FLNG that combined to enable a FLNG chain to be developed in confidence. FLNG chain should be of especial interest to Southeast Asia which benefit both as a producer and a consumer of LNG.
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