Inshore Floating LNG for Liquefaction of Onshore Shale Gas
- Chris Carpenter (JPT Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- April 2014
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 100 - 103
- 2014. Offshore Technology Conference
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- 144 since 2007
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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper OTC 24091, "Development Options for North American LNG Export: The Merits of Inshore-Deployed FLNG for Liquefaction of Onshore Shale Gas and Examination of Principal Technology Drivers," by Joe Verghese, WorleyParsons Europe, and Nancy Ballout, WorleyParsons Houston, prepared for the 2013 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 6-9 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2013 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission.
The advent of shale-gas production onshore North America, the resulting overhang of gas supplies, and the downward pressure on gas prices have led operators to consider the possibilities of liquid-natural-gas (LNG) liquefaction plants for the export of LNG from coastal locations to international markets. Several proposals for onshore liquefaction relate to the conversion of existing LNG regasification sites. The paper assesses the technology implications of migrating LNG floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) concepts to inshore service.
The energy markets have seen a remarkable evolution in gas developments driven by a number of factors including the relative abundance of this energy resource and its global availability, flexibility in use, and low carbon number. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), gas will increase its share of the global energy mix from 21% in 2009 to 25% by 2035.
Against this backdrop, the shale-gas revolution in North America has already led to gas self-sufficiency, with North America poised to be a net exporter by 2016. According to the IEA, the introduction of horizontal drilling, hydrofracturing, and resource targeting technologies has led to a 27% increase in natural-gas production, from 2005 levels to 23 Tcf in 2011 (Fig. 1). A further increase of 44% from this 2011 level is foreseen by 2040. US natural-gas production has outpaced growth in demand by a ratio of 2:1 since 2005, leading to downward pressure on natural-gas prices.
These factors have prompted owners of existing LNG regasification terminals to sense a shift in the demand/supply balance, and to seek approval to install liquefaction facilities for export of LNG. By the end of May 2012, 15 applications had been submitted to the US Department of Energy for export authorization, amounting to a staggering 145 million t/a of capacity.
The sweet spot for floating liquefaction units lies precisely in the greenfield phase of the LNG-export scenario. For greenfield developments, the atshore or inshore deployment of floating LNG (FLNG) can offer interesting advantages over its onshore counterpart. These include potential for faster permitting, a faster construction schedule, and significant potentials for standardization and redeployment.
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