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TPG4140 Natural Gas

NTNU - Trondheim
November 2013

FLNG – Floating Liquefied Natural Gas

An evolutionary way to unlock stranded and marginal gas fields.

MONTES Massimo

Natural gas will play a central role in meeting the world’s increasing energy demand in the
upcoming decades. One possibility of trading natural gas is in the form of liquefied natural gas
(LNG) which is currently representing almost 30% of the imported natural gas worldwide.
One-third of the gas reserves in the world are located in offshore, remote gas fields (BP, 2009). In
many cases these gas reserves are considered to be stranded. In fact, where the gas field is located
far from the shore, the transport via a pipeline may not be a technical-economic feasible solution.
As a consequence there is growing interest to unlock and monetize these reserves with floating
facilities capable of liquefying and storing natural gas.
Floating production platforms imply a blend of technology from land-based LNG industry, offshore
oil and gas industry and marine transport technology. These new technical challenges need to be
deeply investigated to overcome the new constraints raised from the offshore operability.
The aim of this paper is to review the current status of FLNG projects, to highlight the technical
challenges and the main risks that this new technology addresses, as well as the economic, political
and environmental aspects.


ABSTRACT ......................................................................................................................................................... ii
LIST OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................................................... iii
Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................................. 1
1.1 - Background .......................................................................................................................................... 1
1.2 - A potential break-through: FLNG ......................................................................................................... 1
Chapter 2 – THE TECHNOLOGY ......................................................................................................................... 3
2.1 – FLNG facility ......................................................................................................................................... 3
2.2 – Technical challenges ............................................................................................................................ 6
Chapter 3 – RISK AND SAFETY ........................................................................................................................ 11
3.1 – Risk allocation .................................................................................................................................... 11
3.2 – Safety analysis: HSE ........................................................................................................................... 12
3.3 – How the safety is ensured ................................................................................................................. 12
Chapter 4 – ECONOMIC ANALYSIS .................................................................................................................. 14
4.1 – FLNG in the Market............................................................................................................................ 14
4.2 – FLNG to onshore LNG economic comparison .................................................................................... 15
4.3 – FLNG project structures ..................................................................................................................... 16
Chapter 5 – POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS ............................................................................................................ 17
5.1 - Political issues concerning Prelude project ........................................................................................ 17
5.2 – Political issues concerning Greater Sunrise ....................................................................................... 18
5.3 – Main political aspects ........................................................................................................................ 19
Chapter 6 – ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT .......................................................................................................... 20
6.1 – Environmental footprint comparison between FLNG and onshore LNG plant .................................. 20
6.2 – Main environmental benefits ............................................................................................................ 22
Chapter 7 – DISCUSSION ................................................................................................................................ 23
Chapter 8 – CONCLUSIONS ............................................................................................................................. 25
REFERENCES ................................................................................................................................................... 26
TABLES............................................................................................................................................................ 32
FIGURES .......................................................................................................................................................... 35
APPENDIX ......................................................................................................................................................... 1
Appendix A – DMR options for FLNG liquefaction process ........................................................................... 1
Appendix B – Overview on Prelude project .................................................................................................. 1


1.1 - Background
Demand for natural gas continues to increase and it is rapidly becoming the preferred fossil fuel for
several applications. Forecasts assert that the use of natural gas could rise by more than 50% by
2035 1. The main growth of demand is occurring in East Asia; on the contrary, the EU market does
not show a definite trend. (International Energy Agency, 2011)
LNG has become the main alternatives to transport natural gas for long and remote distances. It
avoids the construction of new uneconomic pipelines and it changed the natural gas market from a
confined one, as it used to be, to a global one 2. (BP, 2009)
A large proportion of the global natural gas reserves are stranded, that means located remote from
the markets, or marginal, where the field is too small to justify a gas pipeline (J. S. Gudmundsson,
2010). These offshore medium or small-size gas fields, that is to say 1 to 3 trillion cubic feet (tcf),
are numerous in Australasia and in Gulf of Guinea 3. For these reasons, several petroleum
companies in the world are dealing with a way to take advantage of LNG technology to exploit the
one third of world gas reserves, which are located offshore: this innovative conception of the
offshore plant is called FLNG, as acronym of Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (Finn, 2009).
1.2 - A potential break-through: FLNG
The overall purpose of an FLNG facility is to produce LNG directly on an offshore floating plant,
developing a remote gas fields or associated gas of oil fields under production. The entire FLNG
value chain is thus shorter than a typical LNG supply chain; in fact, an FLNG plant might enclose,
in one single structure, the upstream facilities, the transportation via pipelines to onshore plants, the
treatment, the liquefaction, and the export processes. On the other side, the above mentioned
procedures would be separated in a conventional LNG supply chain 4. (Michelle Michot Foss, 2007)
Floating LNG production, storage and offloading concepts (LNG FPSOs) have some advantages
over conventional liquefaction plants for offshore resources. The most important one may be the
ability to station the vessel directly over distant fields thus avoiding expensive offshore pipelines,
not economically feasible while developing marginal, small gas field and the possibility to move the


Figure 1 - World Energy Demand (1980-2035).
Figure 2 - Major trade movements.
Figure 3 - Undeveloped offshore gas fields in Australasia in 2007.
Figure 4 - LNG & FLNG value chain.


production facility to a new location once the existing field is depleted. (A. Kheradmand et al.,
From the late 1990s some big oil companies (Shell, Exxon-Mobil, Statoil, and some European
research groups) are developing FLNG concepts for remote locations, such as Nigeria, Australia
and Namibia (ENI, 2005). These companies are considering two models with different aims,
relevant to FLNG’s future growth:
• small scale plant, suitable for small stranded gas reserves, previously delayed because they were
considered uneconomic for conventional land-based facilities;
• large scale plant, which is a means to avoid long distance submerged pipelines to the shore,
enhancing the prospects for fields where traditional LNG development would involve a lengthy
or difficult feed gas pipeline.
The size of the plant and its storage capacity are related to the need for treatment of the feed gas
composition and the intended processing capacity 5 (I. Kerbers and G. Hartnell, 2008).
A unique and demanding set of technical challenges must be overcome to move LNG production to
an offshore setting, ensuring at the same time the safety of marine environment and workers. These
problems are primarily due to the changing and sometimes harsh marine environments in which the
facility has to operate and to the lack of space on the hull. (I. Kerbers and G. Hartnell, 2008)
Today, all the considered technologies in the FLNG are either mature or under qualification, and the
economic situation justifies a renewed interest of the operators, so it is no surprise to see several
initiatives launched on the subject of floating LNG. However, some political issues still need to be
solved. (B. Mauriès et al., 2009)


Table 1 - Small and large scale FLNG.

ease of operation. light and with higher inherent process safety. The receiving facilities typically comprise equipment for separation of well fluids into wet gas. which extract the fluid. A typical design for this latter technology is to base the installation on an LNG carrier hull. quick start-up and high availability. condensate and Produced Formation Water (PFW). 2011) Receiving area The feed gas is thus delivered from the turret to the receiving area. However. low equipment count. condensate and PFW. Finally.1 – FLNG facility The overall purpose of an FLNG facility is to produce LNG and. The production fluid is therefore transported to the riser base manifolds. and the transportation system to deliver it on the FLNG facility. (DNV.FLNG facility. The flexible risers should be designed to accommodate the motions of the FLNG facility on the ocean surface. (Shell. The technology in use on existing Oil and LPG FPSOs means that nowadays there is a body of experience for a large number of already proven components that will also be applicable for an offshore FLNG installation. Figure 6 . which requires a compact design and a weight control. The various parts of the process are then located topside and distributed as modules that are installed on the deck 7. from which the subsea flow lines start. 7 3 . The entire plant comprises the upstream infrastructure 6 and the FLNG facility itself. depending on feed gas composition. which are installed on the seabed adjacent to the FLNG facility.Gas-treatment. Some liquids are typically removed in a separator by gravity. consisting of gas. The additional constraints such as vessel motion due to marine environment also requires a high degree of modularity. to which the following description refers to. where the gas-treatment starts8. The wells are completely subsea and a platform is not required: the wellheads are connected directly to the subsea production manifolds.Chapter 2 – THE TECHNOLOGY 2. the flexible risers transport the fluid to the turret of the floating structure. When these liquids may form slugs. the process plant needs to be protected by installation of a slug catcher at the inlet of the plant. PFW needs treatments 6 Figure 5 . offshore alternatives need to be more compact. Upstream infrastructure The upstream infrastructure includes the production wells.Upstream infrastructure. compared to available liquefaction processes used in onshore LNG plant. 8 Figure 7 . LPG and stable condensate as by-products. 2009) The FLNG facility should be designed according to the Offshore Technical Guidance.

However. since it 4 . 2011) Gas sweetening Natural gas may also contain sour gases. the processed and dried gas still has heavy components which have to be removed in the NGL (Natural Gas Liquid) extraction unit prior to the liquefaction. The amine process involves an absorber column and a stripping cycle where the absorber is freed from the “recovered” gases. while the condensate fraction is stabilised and drawn off to storage. a unit regenerate the Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG). However. the internal filling with molecular sieve needs to consider the movement of vessel and vibration during offshore service. in order to meet LNG product specifications. a more effective treatment is necessary for an FLNG in order to obtain the very low water content (0.before being discharged into the sea. The process is an adsorption on a bed containing sulphur-impregnated activated carbon. moreover. which consists of an absorption into a solvent. that may represent a corrosion hazard or hinder the liquefaction processes. which is injected to prevent the formation of hydrates in the upstream infrastructure. limits would also be set for maximum mercury content in the gas. 2011) Liquefaction The liquefaction unit is the heart of the topside process and is a close variant of the available onshore options. The gas is routed to the AGRU (Acid Gas Removal Unit). 2011) Dehydration and mercury removal Water vapor needs to be removed to prevent later freezing and formation of hydrates during the liquefaction process. This requires a system for mercury removal to prevent the potential damages related to corrosion. In this area. 2011) Fractionation Once the gas has passed through the gas treating units. (DNV. Clearly. (DNV. The removal of these gases is often referred to gas sweetening. FLNG cause a relevant reduction in the use of MEG.5 ppmv) that is required for the low temperature needed for liquefaction of the natural gas. (DNV. Whereas the most common dehydration method used on oil FPSOs is an absorption glycol contactor process. H2S and CO. which is recovered as condensate products (C5 +) and LPG (C3-C4). In this process. such units are unaffected by vessel motions and have a relatively small footprint. 2011) For liquefaction processes using aluminum as a material in the process system (typically heat exchangers). choosing a proper process cycle is of fundamental importance. (DNV. with the associated economic benefits. Solid bed dehydration is seen as the preferred alternative due to the low outlet water dew point and its effective capacity. (DNV. typically an amine solution. the cooling and the turbo expansion of the feed gas enable the separation of a part of the streaming flow. such as CO2.

The FLNG vessel presents a moving platform for the liquefaction process and its associated equipment. 2012) for a floating application are:  Single Mixed Refrigerant (SMR). The C3MR and DMR cycles have similar high efficiencies. It uses a coil wound heat exchanger for precooling. there may be a preference to minimize the flammable inventory in the refrigeration circuits for safety reasons. called HN. The N2 recycle process. suitable for processing about 1-2 tcf of natural gas over a 20 year life.  Nitrogen Recycle (N). The other process cycles are all limited to about 1 or 2 MTPA per train. (DNV. 2011) The main cycles that have been studied (Air Product and Chemicals. and this motion creates acceleration forces and mechanical fatigue having both to be accounted for in the equipment and process design. A separate HFC precooling circuit. • Production capacity. • Refrigerant type. For FLNG. due to the ability to match the MR boiling curve to the feed condensation curve. the primary effect of motion is on two-phase fluid flow. due to FLNG vessel constraints. avoids the process effects on two-phase flow . in which the precooling circuit is a propane system or the Dual Mixed Refrigerant (DMR). • Impact of vessel motion. The precooled MR cycles have the largest production capacities. with its use of solely gaseous refrigerant. 5 . This reduces the attractiveness of the C3MR process for FLNG service. such a large capacity may not be feasible for FLNG.  Precooled mixed refrigerant such as the C3MR. easily 5 Million Tons Per Annum (MTPA) or more. improves the overall process power efficiency. but it is still less efficient than a precooled MR process. The high efficiency of the precooled MR process makes it a good candidate for FLNG development.determines the equipment requirements for a large section of the FLNG facility and has a great impact on the overall vessel design. The N2 recycle process has the advantage of using entirely non-flammable refrigerant. that uses instead a warm mixed refrigerant. as well as liquefaction and sub-cooling. The selection of the liquefaction process is influenced by some main features: • Process efficiency. However. The DMR process replaces the pure propane with a second mixed refrigerant. which significantly reduces the propane inventory on the FLNG vessel. For any MR refrigeration cycle. The process uses the reverse Brayton cycle to refrigerate. The efficiency of the N cycle is somewhat below the various MR cycles. The lower efficiency of the N2 recycle process can be improved nearly to that of the SMR cycle by the use of a separate precooling circuit such as in the HN process.

many solutions has been proposed such as gas turbines. mainly due to the energy required by the compression in the liquefaction process. Lead Process Engineer of Air Product and Chemicals. Justin D. During the commissioning process and as an emergency power system. 2011). Bukowski. 2011). 10 6 . it is then flashed to atmospheric pressure. DMR. in particular aero-derivative gas turbines 11.2 – Technical challenges The required technology development to move a LNG production facility on a floating structure are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. (DNV. prior to being offloaded to a tanker.PGT25+G4 gas turbine. 9 Appendix A . states that “These processes and equipment have undergone significant marinization work to be qualified for FLNG service. as well as its reduced propane inventory compared to C3MR. Table 2 . there are many options 9 that allow the process to be tailored to the owner’s specific needs and situation”.With consideration of the foregoing. an important one is the power generation system. the N or HN process due to elimination of flammable refrigerants and insensitivity to FLNG vessel motion. in order to remove the excess of nitrogen. 2011) Ancillary systems Obviously. the condensate and LPG from the process trains is transferred directly to dedicated atmospheric pressure storage tanks in the hull of the FLNG facility. diesel or electric engines may be used (DNV. 2012) End-flash and storage Once the gas is compressed. liquefied and sub-cooled in the cryogenic heat exchangers. To produce it. the SMR process due to its simplicity.DMR options for FLNG liquefaction process. the power demand ranges from 100 to 250 MW. SMR and N or HN LNG processes have attracted great interest for FLNG: the DMR process due to its high efficiency and large production capacity in a single train. in fact. the FLNG facility needs some ancillary systems 10. most of the planned solutions are adaptations of technologies currently applied in onshore liquefaction. 2. However. Typically. Dr.Ancillary systems. (Air Product and Chemicals. and all known issues have been solved. As a result of the studies. a unique and demanding set of technical challenges must be overcome to move LNG production to an offshore setting. at a temperature of -162°C. The resulting LNG. primarily due to the changing and sometimes harsh marine environments in which the facility has to operate and to the lack of space on the hull (DNV. 11 Figure 8 . Within each processes. steam driven systems or a hybrid system based on electricity production from gas turbines and steam from waste heat recovery.

Wave motion should not be allowed to affect the performance of process equipment. 2011). from topsides loads. occurring during the service. pitting and galvanic corrosion. 2011). accidentally. a design for motion is required12. from activities on board. To minimize these. corrosion ones. continuous operation offshore. 7 . In addition. then by applying specific expedients. In fact. from ship to ship mooring during LNG transfer. fatigue damages. not supposed to dry-dock. such as corrosion allowance. This is particularly relevant for fatigue and corrosion considerations (DNV. represents a potential serious source of downtime if not handled properly.Design considerations LNG offshore operations impose additional structural loads arising. The total volume of the LNG storage capacity has to be carefully projected a little bit larger than the volume 12 13 Figure 9 . In this case containment system has to be strong enough. on an FLNG plant. for example. The storage system must be also capable of withstanding the possible damage due to the harsh environmental condition that can cause sloshing in partially filled tanks. are one of the most important structural flaws that need to be assessed during the design of a FLNG facility. from sloshing in storage tanks. and preventing the hull structure from being cooled to an unsafe level. repairable in situ in order to maintain the production rate. and. are stricter than for a trading carrier (DNV. typically without dry-docking. furthermore. for the entire life of the gas field (20 years or more) imposes a proper design in order to avoid the need for in-service repair or replacement. Figure 10 . to support the heavy topside. protective coatings or cathodic protection (DNV. The forms of corrosion that could occur are general corrosion. As problem related with fatigue. Frequent change-out of water in ballast tanks to accommodate production and offloading procedures. One of the main features that have to be considered designing a containment system is the presence of a secondary barrier. the design fatigue factors for an offshore vessel. Containment system design Current designs for FLNG terminals generally propose containment systems developed for the marine transportation of LNG and indicated by the IGC code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk).Containment tank type. The structure integrity of the hull can be achieved first by a proper design and choice of materials. compared to a static onshore plant. For this reason. reliable and. with a focus on the special working condition of a floating offshore processing facility 13. and operation in harsh marine environment lead to high potential corrosion rates compared to a trading LNG carrier. providing a temporary containment in case of leakage.Fatigue screening around turret area of a floating unit. 2011).

still under development.Most suitable containment system for FLNG. Even though sloshing can be relevant using this option. can emphasize the impact loads. which could reduce movements of fluid. Three main types of tanks are well known and applicable for FLNG containment system 14. In the side-by-side technology it could be used either rigid arms with extended envelopes and assisted connection or aerial hoses. Figure 12 . in order to have further available space to continue production in case of delays or if bad weather prevents offloading. • The membrane tanks. due to the limited experience. the impact pressure is small due to the spherical design of the tank. and prone to structural fatigue (DNV. allowing the periodical offloading of the LNG produced (DNV. 2011). The operation is normally supported by tugboats. but is allegedly more expensive. The main benefit of this system is the high exploitation of available space. 2011). necessary to support a FLNG operation.. 14 15 Figure 11 . • The spherical tank Moss-type B. Low utilization of hull space leaves less deck space for process equipment. thanks to the internal structure that reduces liquid motions. The current technology considers two main categories for the design of an offloading system. The transfer operation of the LNG is performed through a rigid connection between the arms located on the side of the FLNG and the carrier’s midship manifold. The regular availability of such a system can make the difference for the economic viability of a FLNG project. making this tank solution suitable only for very small scale (DNV. 2011). Aronsson. LNG transfer system The ability to transfer LNG between two floating structures is one of the key technologies. the selection of a containment system is also limited by the space on the deck to accommodate the topside plant (M. Moreover. • Self-supported prismatic tank type B is not sensitive to sloshing during partial filling. large tanks can be replaced by smaller tanks arranged in parallel rows (DNV. To reduce the influence of sloshing. (E. 8 . 2011).Side-by-side transfer system. Bunnag et al.of designated LNG carrier. The absence of an internal structure. Calm weather and sea are required for this offloading system since the loading arms do not allow for a wide range of relative motion. 2011). while the main disadvantage is the large impact loads due to sloshing when the tank is partially filled. 2012). • Side-by-side transfer 15 is carried out by a shuttle tanker temporarily moored alongside the FLNG facility.

there are still some challenges to solve. manoeuvrability may be helped by use of tugs or dynamic positioning capabilities for the shuttle tanker. The 16 17 Figure 13 .• Tandem transfer system 16 provides a hawser line to connect the vessels and is performed from the stern of the FLNG to the bow of the shuttle tanker. However. Therefore. where the vessel is constrained in one direction. such as the high sensitivity to the sea condition. To obtain this effect the system is composed of a fixed turret column supported by a structure via a bearing arrangement for free rotating around the turret. and it is generally arranged in the front part of the hull structure. It is composed by 3-4 mooring lines at each corner of the vessel. 9 . On the other hand.Spread mooring system. Aronsson. • Turret mooring. a suitable separation distance between the two vessels in order to obtain the highest level of safety. There are several different tandem technologies available like aerial hoses. and the complexity of navigation in open water. (E. where the vessel is free to weathervane. it is fundamental for FLNG technology to have reliable operational capability. the mooring system has to be carefully selected. 2011). Figure 14 . which limits the window of offloading for many locations. thus the operation of offloading is permitted even in the presence of significant waves. Moreover. however. floating hoses. In order to consider the large forces and loads involved. in addition. Mooring system Given the environmental and weather conditions in the target field. The main benefit of tandem transfer is the less influence from relative motion between the FLNG and the shuttle tanker. and there are a lot previous experiences of this system from LPG FPSO. 2011). submerged hoses. The choice of the most proper offloading system has to take into account many aspects. This technology is also proved and already used. and motion compensating structures incorporating rigid arms. it is possible to make a connection to midship manifolds using floating hose solutions. chain stoppers could be positioned on deck level (DNV. considering the local environmental situations and the working conditions.Tandem transfer system. the tandem transfer arrangement requires dedicated tankers and. 2012). which minimizes the cost. However. There are normally two common types of mooring arrangements for permanently moored offshore floating production units in use today (DNV. this solution can cause a large and dangerous increase of the weight of the facility (DNV. 2011): • Spread mooring17. The side by side transfer system allows using the existing manifold without the project of dedicated vessels.

Types of mooring system. These aspects make a FLNG facility more suitable to process a stream with low levels of inert gases and impurities. Gas pre-treatment operations can be expected to take up as much as 50% of the available deck space on a floating production facility. depending on impurity levels in the feed gas stream. Figure 16 . These technologies could be applied in working condition. 18 Figure 15 . flexible risers and umbilicals. The carbon dioxide must be completely removed within a single-step operation. The spread mooring system could be applied at the beginning of operation and with calm and regular weather conditions. but can be exceeded. while the difficulty of removing and treating hydrogen sulphide offshore drives the tolerance for this impurity to near-zero.2011).Internal turret mooring system.turret supports the mooring system. 19 10 . external19 and turret mooring with thruster assistance (DNV. The technical challenges mentioned above are demanding. we can distinguish between internal 18. both to avoid the installation of nitrogen rejection equipment and to maximise available liquefaction capacity. It is possible also to use other less common options to maintain FLNG in location. 2013). their revenue benefits are offset in offshore settings by the increased complexity. like the dynamic positioning or the berthing alongside a fixed or floating jetty near the shore 20. Clearly. 2011). enabling continuous operations in moderate-to-harsh weather conditions. it seems likely that the early floating liquefaction ventures will confine their attentions to sweet gas reserves in relatively calm marine environments. The turret allows FLNG facility to adopt the direction of the least resistance against waves.Turret mooring system. K. wind and currents (M.. In this case. Even streams inlets with high nitrogen should be avoided. The turret mooring system is a proved system in the FPSO sector. and it allows FLNG to freely weathervane 360 degrees. Ha et al. processing and storage obligations they impose on the floating facility (DNV. Floating LNG is also restricted in the levels of condensates and LPGs that can be directly handled aboard the vessels. While these liquids classically represent a valuable supplemental revenue stream for onshore LNG developments. Lack of space on the hull A floating vessel requires a compact design of the equipment and a weight control. 20 Table 3 . this limits the range of gas reserves that might be suitable for floating liquefaction.

technical challenges. It is then reasonable to neglect both the gas production phase and those ones after the offloading process in order to define a comparison with the traditional onshore technology. 2009). the downstream is protected from the off-takers risks. the risk allocation is strictly dependent on the structure adopted from a wide range of contracts. Oil FPSOs basic experiences are significant. because a “project company” typically operates and owns the vessel. each one regarding the upstream. each of which deals with some main issues. Skramstad et al. off-loading and transportation (E. economic and political issues. Figure 17 .FLNG phases risk allocation. the next paragraphs include only the HSE (Health. and achieves a certain target of remuneration through a fee on the processed volumes (A. 2011). With the new framework. The experiences concerning the previous LNG liquefaction processes come from both LNG carriers equipped with re-liquefaction systems and other applications on LPG FPSOs. furthermore.Logical scheme of risk allocation. The risk analysis can be divided into four sections.1 – Risk allocation The new framework of the FLNG value chain implies the risk reallocation associated to each stage. midstream and downstream phase21. 11 . McArdle. Safety and Environment) problems and the risks due to the technical challenges. White and H. The distribution of the risk for FLNG solutions is reported as following 22: Health-Safety-Environment. legal issues closely linked with the ones previously mentioned should be taken into consideration (J. The performance and capacity of the production represent one of the main uncertainties regarding the commercial feasibility of FLNG developments. Since the economic and political issues are discussed in the following chapters. 2010). This fact implies the search for new risk-solutions about production. the risk allocation can be divided into techno-operational and market-economic issues. In addition. but not entirely applicable due to the complexity in LNG production processes.Chapter 3 – RISK AND SAFETY 3. Traditionally. Anyway. 21 22 Table 4 . El Mazni. The innovative nature of the FLNG technology commissioning is one of the main causes of uncertainty.. the midstream risks are absent due to the fact that the transportation and storage phases are combined together in the single FLNG facility. which repays all the capital and operating expenditures.

Kolodziej et al. nitrogen) could pollute the marine environment (I. intoxication. Several unexpected events might occur in that process: the fluids used as refrigerants (propane.. 2004. that means to use a building block approach. 3. Hartnel. Kolodziej et al. could compromise the integrity of the tank and cause insulation problems. 2011). workers are subjected to non-hydrocarbons risks... 2009).. A malfunction in this process and an unexpected leakage could cause fire and explosion incidents. 12 . 2010). The most hazardous risks regard hydrocarbons treatment. Risks are evaluated early in the selection of the design and minimized by a Concept Risk Assessment (CRA). the plant equipment and the marine environment.3. which can lead to ships collision (E. or by using them to fuel the power system. even leakage (Zhao. J. The main issues regarding the safety of the plant occur in the storage phase and in the treatment of BOG (Boil Off Gas).3 – How the safety is ensured The imperative for ensuring the safety is to act in accordance with a correct project design. BOGs are usually treated either by reliquefaction thus re-storage. the treatment of BOG and LNG spills and vapor dispersion caused by accidental release is another challenge for ensuring safety. corrosivity. low temperature (brittle fracture) and high pressure (Harish N. which combines frequencies and consequences of the undesirable events to calculate their associated risks23. 2010). which is basically a liquid movement within the cargo tank really hard to predict. in the worst-case. because of BOGs’ toxicity. mixed hydrocarbons. Patel et al. Kheradmand et al. In addition. A complete HSE analysis should involve hydrocarbons and non-hydrocarbons risks (E. the large use of nitrogen may involve asphyxiation risks for the workers (Dr. which may occur during marine or helicopters transportation.. Kerbers and G. J. The harsh oceanic conditions and harmful fluids used could cause harm to the workers. First. Justin D. Secondly. equipment damage and fracture on the ship structure. It is thus possible to derive both the 23 Figure 18 .Concept Risk Assessment methodology.. and during the mooring of LNG carriers. 2008) and may cause escalations to fire or explosion because of their flammability. 2009). Bukowski et al. the induced sloshing of LNG.2 – Safety analysis: HSE Safety is one of the most important factors to consider during the design of a FLNG plant. hull damage and. A process that minimizes the usage of these fluids will be more favorable to the stakeholders (D. Franklin et al. 2012). A. reactivity.

The accommodations are placed at the bow and the flare at the stern. 24 25 Figure 19 .related Personal Risk Exposure Per Annum and Cumulative Risk Factor (Chevron Energy Technology Company. The plant modules are located from the vessel bow towards the aft following the process flow with a 15 meters spacing between them and keeping dangerous equipment at a security distance from the accommodations. due to stress. Process Module Shut Down. Kolodziej. 2009). 2011). such as Safety Instrumented Systems (fire and gas detection). Patel et al. 2011). The system is based on several layers of protection: primary and secondary containment (safe design concepts).LOPA Framework for FLNG Process Topsides. Alarms and Human Intervention. WS Atkins Inc. more maintenance and inspection during the entire life of the plant.. and FLNG Emergency Response 24 (American Bureau of Shipping. A secondary escape tunnel is placed under the topside deck to guarantee an escape route to 140-150 people working onboard (E. and safeguard and emergency systems. The special oceanic operating conditions require more attention on the material selection. Figure 20 .Topside view of a FLNG plant. Basic Process Control Systems. Active and Passive Systems (relief devices). fatigue and corrosion issues.J. The FLNG topside modules are arranged in a way that can guarantee the lowest technological and HSE risk. and the need of providing an adequate training for the workers (Harish N.. 2009). Engineers proceed in the development phase by taking into account ALARP (As Low As Reasonably Practicable) and Risk Tolerance Criteria. 13 . while a blast shielding system is used in order to mitigate any risks from the turret swivel and the high-pressure inlet piping25.

spur line and export jetty should be outlined on the basis of last estimates (J. some concerns have recently affected the increase in the cost of onshore terminals: the lack of infrastructures in some places and the increasing cost of the labour and materials are just few of these worries. due to various events such as an increasing desire for gas assets monetization and a more stringent legislation about emissions. Douglas-Westwood shows in its World FLNG Market Forecast that expenditure is set to B$47. two significant risks might affect even more the FLNG sector.S. the netback price from the market to the plant will drive the progress of the project (J. the debt crisis could also reduce the demand and prices. In fact. If the reserves and markets are not the limiting factors. impacting on new E&P activities (M.7 will be reached in 2017.4 over the 2013-2019 period 26. more than three times the Capex value reached in the last five years. In particular. This value is very high if compared with the 2008-2012 period. In this regard. 2013-2019. 2013). where the total global Capex was set to B$3. and bring to a further economic decline. As a result of the outlined capital-intensive nature of FLNG projects. For instance. The development of FLNG projects is made possible thanks to the capability to deliver natural gas from the source to the market at a value chain cost below the price of the gas that the market can allow during the life cycle. topside.Global Capex on FLNG facilities by region. industry figures suggest values of Capex for FLNG plants ranging from $700 to over $1.. 26 Figure 21 . 14 . while the expenditures for export jetty and spur line are theoretically estimated at $150 million and $20 million respectively. Dormer. However. 2009).Chapter 4 – ECONOMIC ANALYSIS 4. B$28 of which spent on FLNG liquefaction. So. 2013). On the other hand. many operators and stakeholders are taking a keen interest in the success of the first critical projects. Dormer. the highest peak of B$9. due to the lingering European debt crisis: the crisis could weaken the investments and reduce the potential market growth in the short-medium term. moreover. the successful execution and operation will encourage new projects whereas a failure could represent a permanent fall for the industry (M. Plotkin et al.000 per t/y of LNG capacity. the topside design denotes one of the most important technical-economic optimization procedures which should also include the failure risk expenditure in a Life Cycle Cost investigation. 2013) Total global capital expenditure on FLNG facility is expected to increase over the next period.. (M. 2013).1 – FLNG in the Market Gas is becoming more and more valuable in the last years. Dormer. Verghese et al. a total cost of B$3 for the vessel.

. In fact. whereas in the Japanese market rich LNG is accepted. Plotkin et al. Mauriès et al. These two main advantages lead to lower capital and restoration/abandonment costs. some important issues have caused the growth of interest on the FLNG technology. safer and thus more economical (M. 2013).2 – FLNG to onshore LNG economic comparison In the recent years.S.. Edwin et al. Even if the commercial drivers of an FLNG project for all the value chain segments must be aligned to those of an onshore LNG project to ensure a fruitful business (J. 2008). lean LNG is required in the UK’s markets. towering the onshore developments. This is a main issue that involves the FLNG topside complexity. Anyhow. Kerbers and G. van Dongen. FLNG represents a recent solution that could bring several economic advantages. FLNG concept has solved also environmental.N. 2013). 2009). Moreover. 2009). the pre-treatment process that also produces LPG offshore will be unnecessary and the topsides will be simpler. This is the reason why Shell saw a strategic opportunity and decided to develop FLNG Lean. The most obvious of these are both the possibility to avoid expensive offshore pipelines and the capability to transfer the production to a new location once the considered field is depleted with a limited downtime (I. 2011). Hartnel.Gas reserves distribution and exploitation. This represents an encouraging tool for small operators that are willing to acquire and develop new offshore gas reserves (B. it has been estimated that the FLNG plant might reduce the costs of a comparable size onshore project up to 20-30% and even a reduction of 25% in term of time required for the land acquisition might be expected (L. if the market accepts rich feed gas. El Mazni et al. the discussed threshold is comparable to other technologies applied to even smaller 27 Figure 22 . Nevertheless. considering the large amount of gas stored in small fields 27. it is sure that the plant might provide higher flexibility in gas resource developments and lower costs of production link. by processing and liquefying natural gas offshore. 2011). this new technology is in the first stages of its development. As a matter of fact... some fields contain lean gas that will not provide the benefit of condensate and LPG revenue stream. 2011). For instance. The floating liquefaction has been proposed as an economically valuable solution to transform stranded gas into money. the exploitation of smaller gas fields down to 1 tcf is a lower threshold if compared to traditional developments (A. This aspect is relevant. Moreover. Anyhow... Bunnag et al. 2013). and it represents a further advantage that could provide additional revenues. El Mazni et al. 15 .LNG markets have various gas specification requirements depending on the countries. 4. the main reason of the economic feasibility of the entire project remains the profitability of the upstream segment (A. a new FLNG concept that it is supposed to be cost-competitive for large lean-gas fields (M. land use and royalty issues typical of onshore plants (PRNewswire.

The three main models. White and H. 2010).3 – FLNG project structures Several business models (Poten & Partners) or basic project structures (Baker Botts LLP) could be adopted for FLNG. 2010). 16 . In this model. a hybrid model would be preferable since it also involves upstream and downstream activities. which covers operating costs and the equity return. In this case. therefore. liquefying and marketing the natural gas. and a variable fee depending on the volumes. are: • An integrated model. the fee is typically composed by a fixed fee for minimum volume. such as methanol-FPSO (0. which usually can result in a loss of money. Kelbers et al.. from which others hybrid could be arranged. FLNG represents one of the best solutions to drastically reduce flaring. they are responsible also for arranging the shipping of LNG to the customers. benefits and even risks (I. such as the contractual risk and price fluctuations. (J. (J. in a tolling model the returns from the only gas processing may not be enough to repay the FLNG developer’s investment and technical risk. which processes the gas and markets the LNG on its own. 2009). White and H. which is the most adopted model for on-shore liquefaction facilities. The reduction of this process denotes an extra-decrease in the cost of the operations. the FLNG remains currently the most tangible solution. This model requires strong players and implies high downstream risks.S. McArdle. the project company takes the commercial benefits and risks related to marketing LNG. McArdle. Anyhow. which covers debt costs. (J. the upstream participants prevent the FLNG operating risks. thus offers more rewards. since methanol projects are not normally going to be able to compete with LNG to access the market (Mark Sutton) and since the hydrates technologies are not economically competitive. Therefore. 2008). Each model has its advantages and disadvantages. McArdle. Gudmundsson. The benefits of reducing this practice may have a positive impact on the environment and even on the health of the surrounding communities (CompactGTL plc. where the owner of the FLNG facility receive a capacity fee from the gas producer for providing the services of processing. the gas resource owner deals with the extraction of gas and sells it to the FLNG facility.. where the gas resource owners or the upstream participants of a FLNG marketing company build and own all the facilities. 4. 2009) • A tolling model. 2009) • A merchant project (or project company model).54 tcf) and natural gas hydrates (0. liquefaction and storage. White and H. For example. that means producing. This loss is due to the missed production and the penalties imposed by the various countries (such as in Nigeria). assets and services for developing and operating the field.stranded-gas-field size.38 tcf) (J.

with floating projects paying only federal royalties and sidestepping state ones. loaded and sailed away. In the end. It is not a question of whether it's a floating or an onshore project. it is required a project which is profitable. Western Australian government. it is whether it's floating or it’s no project. The onshore option was never financially viable.Prelude’s project. The gas is gone. Australian government main interest is to secure from this project as much benefits as it can to boost Western Australia economy. while Oil & Gas companies’ main interest is to follow the most economically viable solution.1 . Australian government and Browse joint-venture partner are the two main characters involved in the development and exploitation of the Browse basin. The power balance between the states and the commonwealth. flourishing US shale gas market and technology enhancements have made Australian gas too expensive to be sold. The benefits for local business have gone.” (The Australian.Political issues concerning Prelude project Political issues such as job opportunities creation and local communities’ growth are the main problems related to FLNG technology development. 17 . Tom Adolph. pushes to keep Browse gas project onshore since it would provide more benefits both to the region and to the local community of James Price Point: “No other country in the world would allow its energy resources to be developed in offshore construction. 2013). 28 Appendix B . which is the first FLNG facility that will be developed off the shores of Australia. As a matter of fact. is another problem the project implies. leaving Browse joint venture with little choice but to pursue the floating option if the project was to be constructed at all (Business Spectator. the commonwealth’s main interest is to succeed in developing the gas field as stated by Federal Resources Minister Gary Gray. which is feasible. Prelude project 28. On the other hand. it is vital it is extracted. “An onshore project in Western Australia was just not possible. a former Woodside executive: “It is unfortunate the gas will not be processed on West Australian shores. is used in this paper as an example for a better understanding of the previously mentioned matters and others related to them. The companies’ concern is to pursue the most financially profitable solution and Prelude floating project seems to be the only one so far. In fact.” (The Australian. The jobs are gone. where the Prelude will be located. headed by Prime Minister Colin Barnett. 2013). The benefits for the Aboriginal people have gone.”(ABC News. 2013). 2013).Chapter 5 – POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS 5.

and despite the similarity with the former one. where Prelude is supposed to be built at Samsung shipyard. which is going to involve Australian people for unique multi-year program in order to provide the first floating LNG operators” (K. the reduction in number of processing infrastructures on FLNG plants leads to the necessity of fewer construction jobs which can be also relocated in others countries where workforce cost is cheaper (P. Pickard. Even the employment places that such a facility would provide are of great importance. 2013). for maintenance and operation jobs. are the operation and maintenance jobs that are going to last for 20-25 years and that do not tend to put the stress on the communities that construction jobs do. This kind of initiative will provide to Australians abundant advantages at being able to compete for jobs. in terms of job opportunities and contracts. 5. Pickard said it was wrong to suggest that Shell was recruiting in other countries and was committed to support the local community. As it happens. Wilson. for our business and those jobs will exist here in Perth to support the floating industry” (Ms. Dormer. “Operation and maintenance jobs should be the foundation. the economy burst provided by the construction of a gas liquefaction treatment plant. with Curtin University and the Challenger Institute. In addition to this. form 80 to 85 per cent of Prelude’s employee. 2013). Shell’s strategy is to hire locally.The development of an onshore facility is the solution that would undeniably provide more paybacks to Western Australia. despite not making ‘any huge difference yet’. On the other hand. as Shell Australian chairwomen point out. over FLNG ships. Furthermore. it emphasizes the previous statements adding some details about possible political interaction between different nations. Vickery & A. as previously reported. As a matter of fact. and even of greater importance. the budget required to build an onshore plant would not repay the O&G companies’ investments. an FLNG training program. Additionally. will be greatly diminished if the floating solution is adopted: large capital invested in the floating plant construction would be moved from Australia to South Korea. is not to be underestimated. These two aspects. 2013). local communities’ opposition may sometimes obstruct the placement of the onshore plant. Shell Australian chairwomen. 2013). job opportunities in outer sea would be very less attractive to local communities of Australian coast. Garvey. Prelude project would bring great profits to Australia: “Ms.2 – Political issues concerning Greater Sunrise The Greater Sunrise gas fields region is another FLNG possible future development area whose political situation is at stake. Nevertheless. an offshore facility represents a good way to avoid such concern due to their position close to the gas markets but far from the main land (M. In fact Shell have set up. The Greater Sunrise gas fields are located approximately 450 km north of Darwin and 150 18 . So. the bedrock. around the world.

It’s therefore clear how governments disapprove this kind of technology because of the earlier mentioned problems. The Sunrise Joint Venture is comprised of Shell (26. however approximately 20% of the fields are located in a Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) controlled by the Governments of East Timor and Australia who actually are the stakeholders in the Greater Sunrise gas fields. In 2010 the Sunrise Joint Venture selected Shell’s FLNG technology as the Joint Venture’s preferred development option. Jose Ramos Horta. 5. As a matter of fact. Furthermore. As a matter of fact. the latter is not so keen on exploiting the gas field with this new technology not only because of the same reasons the Australian Government pointed out. On the other hand. it leaves uncertainties on its reliability. Conoco Phillips (30%) and Osaka Gas (10%).3 – Main political aspects Given these perspectives.4%). said that he is concerned about the companies' insistence on using such an untested technology for the project. political contrasts arose between Royal Dutch Shell and East Timor Government. Furthermore. the growing market competition leaves no other choices but to follow this new path. both Governments involved would like to have an LNG facility built on their coast line. an FLNG production plant might be the only feasible resolution to avoid the rising of political discrepancies. 19 . when a field is located in a JPDA. it is clear how FLNG technology poses new problem in the exploitation of hydrocarbons resources. to other third parties or nations. especially in local communities. As for the Browse basin. Ross Kelly write on ‘The Australian’. even East Timor’s President. The larger part of the basin is located in Australian waters. it appears to scatter Oil Companies’ capitals supposed to be invested in reservoirs’ owner country.6%). in this case. On the other hand an FLNG facility could be the solution that might lead the two nations to an agreement.East Timor has consistently opposed the use of a floating LNG vessel to develop the resource. but also because the technology itself is new. and this create a conflict of interest that may delay to gas fields exploitation development. and nations contend for obtaining the right to build the facility on their own ground. preferring to have the gas piped to an LNG plant built on its coastline. Woodside (Operator) (33. It is also necessary to take into account that. and therefore. which straddles its maritime border with from the south coast of East Timor.

The previously mentioned aspects associated to the operational phase are broadly similar to the ones linked to the construction phase. it is necessary to consider the positioning of a long pipeline. it has been estimated that the footprint of an equivalent LNG development could be around three times bigger than the FLNG development (Caymo & Cohen. On the other hand lighting form onshore plant could impact visual amenities. subsea infrastructure and the facility itself. disruption of behavioral patterns and secondary impacts such as the increased predation and the reduced fitness. 20 . sensitive near-shore and shore habitats and native animals (Caymo & Cohen. 2012). In light of these statements is possible to assert that a FLNG facility would be environmentally friendlier even during construction phase. though flaring might be more intense on the FLNG at times of process upset. In addition. meaning the impact associated with the operational phase. would cause significant disturbance to marine habitats. Operation and construction footprint The physical FLNG facility’s footprint. some environmental modifications must be taken into account. the land-take of the onshore liquefaction plant and the effect of the coastal marine export facilities. On the other hand a conventional onshore LNG plant would present a similar footprint around the offshore platform but. should only be limited to the production wells. 2012). Light emission A further aspect that requires consideration is the light emission. as artificial lighting from oil and gas facilities has the potential to impact marine fauna and birds causing disorientation. As a matter of fact.Chapter 6 – ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT 6. Nevertheless. especially in coastal areas. a FLNG facility is supposed to be at a substantial distance from the main lands. Light emitted from the FLNG facility or offshore platform are very similar. This chapter analyses the feasibility of an FLNG plant comparing its footprint relatively to an equivalent onshore LNG plant. operations of dredging. such as jetties and harbors. the exploitation of natural hydrocarbon resources is irrevocable and in spite of the struggle to preserve both the nature and the climate intact. in addition. the comparison of the two options will be schematically conducted considering one aspect per time.1 – Environmental footprint comparison between FLNG and onshore LNG plant The creation of an FLNG facility unquestionably implies the establishment of an environmental footprint. Considering modern society’s needs. Many aspects concur to define the environmental impact of a natural gas liquefaction facility. thus preventing to affect any environmentally sensitive area. The construction activities also pose potential traffic and noise. an onshore solution would imply vegetation clearance and land preparation. Overall.

so it is not necessary for them to transit the coastal ports. 2012). consequently less sensitive to hydrocarbons spill than coastal water. would also occur near-shore. air-cooled onshore development. Moreover. It is overall. Department of the Environment. where marine habitats are more sensitive. Considering the latter aspect an offshore platform would produce less noise. the main source of noise would come from generators. underwater noise generated during this kind of operation is expected to be similar30.Greenhouse gasses emissions Carbon dioxide comes in both cases from the fuel gas consumed for powering the liquefaction process and flaring. First. Whatsoever the location of the FLNG facility offshore and near the gas field provides some advantages in comparison to an onshore plant. Heritage and the Arts. Figure 24 . this reduces the overall risk of introducing non-native species. for an onshore plant. CO2 also comes from the reservoir itself as part of the production 29. the severity of any impact from spills associated with transportation is also likely to be reduced as the environment in the vicinity of an FLNG plant ought to be open ocean. A gas turbine driven LNG plant. the most common arrangement onshore. 21 . which can be a significant source of noise. since as nearly all successful introductions occur in coastal waters (Australian Government. but this would mainly happen during construction phase since during operation the only source would be due to vessels activities. Furthermore. on the other side. since gas is processed in loco. steam turbines. 2008). is more efficient than a steam driven plant and has a comparable efficiency to the FLNG facility (Caymo & Cohen. Transportation system For the FLNG option. represent real risks for an onshore plant.GHG emissions by source from the Prelude FLNG project. Underwater noise. For the FLNG facility. the energy requirement for gas transportation is avoided.Predicted noise levels during non-offtake and offtake activities. Underwater and airborne noise As drilling activities are similar for both cases. These two aspects. and other machinery. while the highest noise generation would occur during the docking and the undocking phase of hydrocarbons’ carriers. FLNG uses colder water spilled from the bottom of the ocean to feed the cooling system and this increase the refrigeration efficiency. Water. Thus. it is estimated that the FLNG facility is 15% more efficient than a comparable steam driven. Furthermore. export tankers remain offshore. 29 30 Figure 23 . both FLNG and offshore platform requires piling.

 Eliminate the operation of dredging and land clearing. according to the typical configuration. This seawater is taken close to the sea bottom where is colder and then is discharged close to the surface.2 – Main environmental benefits The comparison shows that overall FLNG has substantially smaller environmental footprint than onshore LGN. This would make an FLNG ship completely reusable. Moreover. repaired. In comparison. Consequently. the cooling water requirement for offshore platform is typically lower than an onshore facility. the pipelines. 2012).  Avoid the combustion emission in air within human reach and the artificial light emission in costal more sensitive area. 2012).  Reduce the material for the construction by half (Caymo & Cohen. minimizing the temperature impact between water discharges and seawater. Decommissioning an onshore plant would require removal of the offshore facilities. would be towed away.Cooling water and other discharges The FLNG facility would use seawater as coolant. This is due to the fact that this new technology combines the traditional offshore and onshore components required for gas liquefaction into a single. Decommissioning An FLNG plant. but there would be no cooling water discharge from an onshore air-cooled LNG plant. there is a residual Hypochlorite concentration in cooling water discharged to sea (Caymo & Cohen. The land may also require reinstatement. after the exhaustion of a gas field. and the onshore facilities. 6. On the other hand. integrated floating facility that can be located in an open ocean which is a less sensitive area. The main distinguishing features of the FLNG solution are therefore:  Avoid an extensive pipeline. Chlorine in the form of Sodium Hypochlorite is generally added to the cooling water to inhibit growth within the cooling system. the facility is completely reusable after the gas field economical life-time. retrofitted and reused to exploit another field. 22 .

The main strengths of the FLNG technology are. The mentioned characteristics. in addition to lower environmental footprint and less impact on local communities. and Threats involved in the development of a business venture or a project (Washington University. These are primarily due to the harsh marine environment in which the facility has to operate. developed by Albert Humphrey in the 1960s. the continuous offshore operations without dry-docking and the lack of space on the hull. Weaknesses.SWOT Analysis. avoiding expensive offshore pipelines. LNG has become one of the main alternatives to transport natural gas. The latter aspect also limits the range of gas reserves that might be suitable for floating liquefaction. Furthermore.Chapter 7 – DISCUSSION In order to achieve a synthetic and complete summary of the FLNG technology. the capability to unlock stranded and marginal (down to 1 tcf) gas resources. whereas a failure could represent a permanent fall for the industry. which is considered to rise since natural gas is fast becoming the preferred fossil fuel for several applications. 2011). two 31 Table 5 . Others disadvantages are the harmful fluids used on the facility. it allows a drastic simplification in the LNG value chain. it has to be considered also the threats that can cause trouble for this new business. Moreover. However. although the technology is already proved since many onshore components could also be applicable for an offshore installation. FLNG plants could be the solution leading to an agreement between nations. in a competitively way considers the others alternative technologies. we underline the fact that. Regarding the weaknesses. owners of petroleum resources across boundaries. Moreover. as we can infer from the previous chapters. The SWOT analysis. First. In particular. a SWOT analysis is now performed 31. make the project advantageous if compared to onshore solutions. Opportunities. 23 . as for all new projects development. avoiding a big amount of costs and eliminating the technical and economic risks associated to the Midstream layer. The main opportunity that FLNG project may exploit is the global gas market trend. a unique and demanding set of technical challenges must be overcome to move LNG production to an offshore setting. is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths. Another advantage is the possibility to move the production facility to a new location once the existing field is depleted. a successful execution and operation will encourage FLNG’s reliability. that contend for obtaining the right to have an onshore facility built on their own ground. especially for long and remote distances. the creation of less job opportunities compared to an onshore LNG facility and the fact that FLNG projects tend to scatter Oil Companies’ capitals supposed to be invested in reservoirs’ owner country.

impacting on new E&P activities. The performed SWOT analysis is a simple but useful framework to analyze four FLNG’s aspects: strengths and weaknesses.significant risks might affect the FLNG sector. which are internal to this technology. 24 . due to the lingering European debt crisis: the crisis could weaken the investments and reduce the potential market growth in the short-medium term and it could also reduce the demand and prices and bring to a further economic decline. opportunities and threats. which relate to external factors. It can be used to both summarize the results of this report and as a valuable strategy tool to evaluate the competitiveness of this new technology in the Oil & Gas industry.

On the other hand. • The capability to reallocate the facility. once the gas field is depleted. • Governments’ main concerns about FLNG technology are creation of job opportunities and local communities’ growth. thus simplifying the LNG value chain. 25 . It seems likely that early floating liquefaction ventures will confine their attentions to sweet gas reserves in relatively benign marine environments. due to the bullish LNG market. in a competitively way considers the others alternative technologies. • Though the technology is already proved. many technical challenges have to be overcome to integrate the complexity of these new functions on a floater. unravels new scenarios and future developments. it can represent a reasonable solution for dispute between nations. even though it is threatened by the EU debt crisis. • FLNG offers an attractive means of monetizing stranded offshore gas resources. It allows the exploitation of these remote reserves avoiding the need to build a costly fixed pipeline and an onshore liquefaction plant. providing an increase in national gas reserves.Chapter 8 – CONCLUSIONS The main following conclusions can be drawn on the bases of the previous analysis: • Economics of LNG projects are now favourable and may shortly result in the first fully offshore LNG developments.

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control room. Separation of flare stacks for water-wet streams and for cryogenic streams is required to avoid mixing.5 to 6. maintenance. Remove suspended solids.000 tons Storage capacity Up to 220.5 to 3. potential freezing and blockages.0 tcf More than 3.TABLES Table 1 – Small and large scale FLNG. domestic waste water treatment.0 mtpa 3. Safely dispose of pressurised hydrocarbon gas and liquids during emergency situations.000 to 50.0 tcf Hull Ship-like Barge-like Weight 20. drain water. LNG or LPG spills. laboratory 32 They include seawater desalination.000 m3 Liquefaction processes Simpler processes (for example SMR) Base-load-type processes (for example DMR) Table 2 – Ancillary systems. process water and utilities water. Characteristic Small-scale FLNG Large-scale FLNG Liquefaction capacity Less than 3. Systems Cooling water system Drainage system Waste water treatment plant (WWTP) Pressure relief system (flare stacks) Purpose Cooling medium. sea spray run-off and rainwater. The drain water includes washdown water.0 mtpa Required reserves 0. The streams processed are PFW.000 tons More than 70. Drain water.000 m3 More than 250. Amine and MEG spills. Comment The water is taken from the sea using risers and it is treated with an electro-chlorination system to prevent marine growth and with oxygen scavengers to inhibit corrosion. Additional utilities - Accommodation. dispersed and dissolved hydrocarbons from the water prior to discharge to sea. and sewage treatment. - .

• Strict requirements placed on redundancy and availability of critical subsystems. and no prevailing weather directions. berthing lines and fenders attaching Jetty the floating units. • Design issues both on jetty. Dynamic positioning • Computer-controlled system. • Used in area with harsh environmental conditions. Spread • Directionality to the weather. Utilisation of thrusters to support the mooring systems in extreme environmental conditions. • Applied in benign location. • Need relative motion between FLNG unit and jetty in order to ensure the highest level of safety. given the possibility of failure. • The position is maintained automatically. using thrusters. • Three types:  External turret. • Good in very deep-water applications. • In area subjected to hurricane or typhoons disconnection may be desirable.  Turret + thrusters. Adopted in case of conversion of existing Turret vessel in order to obtain a less invasive modification. Safety solution which leaves less space to the containment cargo inside the hull. sensors and position reference system. taking mooring loads into the vessel. • Riser connections located in a riser balcony above the shipside.Table 3 – Types of mooring system Types Characteristics • 3-4 mooring lines at each corner. • Chain stoppers on main deck level. • Mooring the FLNG unit to a jetty.  Internal turret. 33 .

Table 4 – FLNG phases risk allocation UPSTREAM Techno-Operational Market and Economic MIDSTREAM DOWNSTREAM  x O  x x EXTERNAL ORIGIN INTERNAL ORIGIN Table 5 – SWOT Analysis • • • • • • • HELPFUL FACTORS HARMFUL FACTORS STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES Unlocking stranded and small gas resources Pipelines avoided Possible reallocation of the facility Simplification of the LNG value chain Midstream risks avoided Lower environmental footprint Less impact on local communities • • • • • OPPORTUNITIES • • • Demanding technical challenges Production allowed in particular gas reservoir Usage of harmful fluids Less jobs creation Scattering of Oil Companies’ capitals in different countries THREATS • Expansion of global gas market LNG market share rising Solution for disputes between nations • • 34 Current execution influencing future reliability Investments and market growth threatened by the EU debt crisis Reduction of demand and prices caused by the debt crisis .

2008. 35 . 2009. Figure 2 – Major trade movements (billion cubic metres).FIGURES Figure 1 – World Energy Demand (1980 – 2035). Source: BP. Source: IEA.

LNG FLNG Figure 4 – LNG & FLNG Value Chain. Source: Saipem. Source: Technip. 36 .Figure 3 – Undeveloped offshore gas fields in Australasia in 2007. 2009.

FLNG facility. Source: E. 37 . 2012. Figure 6 . Source: Shell. 2009.Upstream infrastructure.Figure 5 . Aronsson.

38 .Figure 7 – Gas-treatment. 2009. Source: General Electric. Source: Shell. Figure 8 – PGT25+G4 aeroderivative gas turbine.

Fatigue screening around turret area of a floating unit. 39 . 2011. Source: DNV. 2011.Figure 9 . Cargo tank types Membrane tanks Independent tanks Tank Type A Tank Type B Tank Type C Prismatic type Spherical type Figure 10 – Containment tank types. Source: DNV.

Bunnag et al. 2009.. Figure 12 – Side-by-side transfer history. Source: M. 40 . Source: Shell. 2011.Figure 11 – Most suitable containment system for FLNG.

Figure 14 – Spread mooring system. Source: Bluewater. Source: Saipem. 41 .Figure 13 – Tandem transfer system. 2012.

Source: Bluewater. Figure 16 – External turret mooring system. 42 .Figure 15 – Internal turret mooring system. Source: Linde.

43 . Figure 18 – Concept Risk Assessment methodology. Source: Chevron.Figure 17 – Logical scheme of risk allocation. 2009.

Source: American Bureau of Shipping. 44 .Figure 19 – LOPA Framework for FLNG process topsides. 2011. 2009. Figure 20 – Topside view of a FLNG plant. Source: Shell.

2013. 45 . Source: HIS.Figure 21 – Global Capex on FLNG Facilities by region. 2013-2019. Figure 22 – Gas reserves distribution and exploitation. Source: International Offshore & Gulf Of Mexico Report. 2008.

2009. Source: Shell. 2009. Figure 24 – Predicted noise levels during non-offtake (on the left) and offtake activities (on the right).Figure 23 – GHG emissions by source from the Prelude FLNG project. Source: Shell. 46 .

with partial condensation in the intercooler and pumping of the liquid around the second stage. then fully condensed by ambient cooling. This design may be desired since it eliminates a piece of rotating machinery (the pump) and may slightly improve the efficiency of the overall process. this one with no liquid pumparound. which meets the needs of the FLNG owner. Instead. is first compressed. ethane. This process offers good efficiency. a mixture of methane. Figure 1 – Single pressure DMR Precooler with and without Liquid Pump-around. sub-cooled in the precooling CWHE. propane and butanes. Figure 1 (on the right) shows another single pressure configuration. and let down in pressure through a Joule-Thompson (J-T) valve to provide refrigeration to precool the feed and CMR. The Warm Mixed Refrigerant (WMR). but with the increased cost of a 2bundle CWHE. The compression is performed in two stages. DMR Single Pressure Precooling Figure 1 (on the left) shows a DMR precooling configuration with a single coil wound heat exchanger (CWHE) and therefore a single shell side refrigerant pressure. the inter-stage liquid is sent directly through the precooling CWHE in a separate tube circuit. and the WMR contains no significant propane.APPENDIX Appendix A – DMR options for FLNG liquefaction process Air Products has developed several different precooling configurations to provide an optimized solution. (AP) A1 .

The low pressure WMR is compressed in the first stage of the compressor. This process may provide better efficiency than the single-pressure process. but it has a significant efficiency penalty if propane is eliminated from the WMR composition. a two-pressure DMR precooler design is shown. The WMR is fully condensed and sent through a first precooling exchanger.DMR Two-Pressure Precooling In figure 2. (AP) A2 . while the balance is cooled further in a second precooling CWHE and then used to provide the final precooling refrigeration at a low pressure. and joined by the intermediate pressure WMR before the second stage of the compressor. Some of the WMR is used to provide refrigeration at an intermediate pressure. Figure 2 – Two Pressure DMR precooler.

and when fully loaded will weigh around 600. LPG and condensate The gas receiving. workshops.000 tons of that weight will consist of steel. The storage and power generation is to be contained within the hull. maintenance areas and living quarters. Once constructed the facility will be dragged to location where it will be permanently B1 . control rooms. Water. It contains no reefs or land above sea level. Heritage and the Arts. The project area is located in offshore waters.Appendix B – Overview on Prelude project “Prelude” is the name of the first Floating LNG facility that is being developed by Shell. The following information concerning the project are extracted from the guidelines provided by Shell itself to the Australian government through DEWHA (Department of the Environment. approximately 475 km north-northeast of Broome and 825 km west of Darwin. processing and offloading equipment will all be mounted on the facility's topside. which is about 40 km from the proposed location of the FLNG facility. Prelude’s field was discovered in 2007. the nearest land is Browse Island. Shell reports that the FLNG facility itself will be 488 m long and 74 m wide. An artistic representation is shown in the figure below. and the facility also supports other associated components such as the control room. stores. Around 260. one year after Shell commenced the drilling operation in the Northern Browse Basin. Processing modules Living quarters. helicopter landing Turret around which facility weathervanes and is moored to the sea floor Storage tanks in the hull for LNG. at about 250 m of water depth.000 tons.

000 t Weight (full capacity) Around 600.4 mtpa of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and 1. as well as 0.anchored by 4 groups of massive mooring chains in 250 m-deep water.6 mtpa of LNG. The main aspects from those mentioned are summarized in the following table. the safety of the FLNG facility has been largely taken into account during its design and it is comparable with modern offshore oil and gas facilities. Each anchorage chain holds to the sea floor by suction piles the size of small houses. Prelude specifications Length 488 m Width 74 m Weight (unloaded) More than 260. As a matter of fact.000 t Life time Indefinite (25 years at Browse Basin) Process capacity 3.000 year weather event. and the FLNG facility has been designed to withstand severe weather thanks to its double-hulled structure.3 mtpa of condensate for export. The sea plant is expected to produce 3. will not be disconnected during bad weather. and it is designed to withstand a 1 in 10.6 mtpa B2 . The Prelude FLNG facility is expected to stay moored at location for 25 years.