|Artistic impression of the Shell FLNG design. Source: Shell. Click to enlarge.
Shell Gas & Power Developments BV signed a master agreement with a consortium comprising Technip and Samsung for the design, construction and installation of multiple floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities over a period of up to fifteen years. Shell and Technip-Samsung also signed a contract for execution of the front end engineering and design (FEED) for Shell’s 3.5 million tonne per annum (mtpa) FLNG solution.
Shell’s FLNG solution has the potential to place gas liquefaction facilities directly over offshore gas fields, thereby precluding the need for long distance pipelines and extensive onshore infrastructure. This innovative alternative to traditional onshore LNG plants provides a commercially attractive and environmentally sensitive approach for monetization of offshore gas fields.
The broad operating parameters of the Shell design mean it can be redeployed. Shell’s standardized “design one – build many” approach allows material repeatability gains to be captured during design and construction phases. After completing the FEED phase, Shell will examine key aspects of each potential FLNG project in its portfolio before considering a final investment decision.
Shell’s invitation to tender was released in June 2008 and was issued to three consortia comprising international engineering and shipyard contractors, selected following an extensive pre-qualification exercise. Bids were received in January 2009.
The FLNG concept’s key dimensions are approximately 450 meters x 70 meters, with a 3.5 mtpa LNG capacity, plus associated LPG and condensate production; taking total liquid production potential to over 5 mtpa. Topsides weight is estimated in excess of 50,000 tonnes. Shell’s FLNG design is suitable for more distant offshore fields, designed to operate under harsh metocean conditions and process a wide range of gas compositions.
In a speech at GasTech 2008 in Bangkok, Jon Chadwick, Executive Vice-President Shell Gas & Power Asia, said:
...so-called ‘easy’ gas is becoming a thing of the past. Shell has been seriously studying the technology of Floating LNG or FLNG for some time. We have devoted substantive engineering hours to FLNG and we now believe that the time for FLNG has come—the market circumstances and the environmental circumstances lead us to believe this is the case. FLNG offers a route to greater flexibility, and increased access to natural gas resources far from shore. FLNG also enhances our ability to operate responsibly in environmentally sensitive areas...We have decided to adopt a generic approach with this technology: a “design-one-build-many” approach. The design we have come to a landing-on after extensive evaluation and testing has no technical showstoppers—and this design is cyclone tolerant.
Technip, leader of the winning consortium, is one of the largest firms in the fields of project management, engineering and construction for the oil and gas industry with 23,000 staff and offices in 46 countries. Samsung is one of the largest shipyards in Korea and amongst the largest in the world with a capacity to build 65 commercial ships and 250,000 tonnes of offshore topside modules each year.