China is looking into developing Floating Liquefied Natural Gas vessels (FLNGs) in order to extract gas from the South China Seas. Reuters reports:
Chinese energy giant CNOOC Group is studying the possibility of building a multi-billion-dollar floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) vessel, as-yet untried technology that would likely be used to produce gas from the deep waters of the South China Sea. […]FLNG ships are ocean-based liquefaction plants that can be positioned above reserves to chill extracted gas and load it into LNG tankers for delivery. That could make fields too remote or too small to develop using undersea pipelines viable for production.
As we reported yesterday, China has found signs of oil and gas off the Paracel Islands with the billion-dollar drilling rig it sent into waters also claimed by Vietnam. The development of FLNGs would be ideal for deep water drilling in just such places:
“For disputed waters, we need to be self-sufficient because we can’t expect onshore support from any neighbouring nations,” [chief deepwater researcher for China’s state-run energy firm Xie Bin] said in the Chinese city of Tianjin.
Tensions between China and its neighbors show no signs of easing, in no small part because rising powers come with rising energy demands.