Numéro : 2622 - Year : 2012
LNG FPSO: the last challenge for the offshore industry
Thomas GAVORY, DORIS Engineering – Naval Architecture and Marine Operations Dpt – Paris
The offshore oil & gas industry has shown a keen interest over the last few years for the development of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) production projects offshore, by means of floating structures.
However, although the various issues of such project are well mastered when they are tackled independently from one another (in shore-based LNG production facilities or on LNG carriers sailing for more than 40 years), their integration on one single compact and floating structure still remains a major technological challenge, particularly in the envisioned locations, subjected to very demanding weather conditions (cyclonic areas).
After presenting and going through the main functions of a LNG FPSO in a first section, this paper will focus on some subjects highly specific to this kind of project, such as LNG transfer to an LNG carrier in open seas, LNG storage in tanks submitted to swell and harsh environmental conditions, or compactness requirements for gas treatment and liquefaction facilities.
Despite the technological breakthroughs of these last few years, the mastering of these few critical systems can still be questionable, thus making the LNG FPSO one of the last big technological challenges of the offshore industry.