Far FLNG Energy
Floating LNG Behemoth Pushes Off
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  • BrianFrankie

    As a person who works in the LNG industry, I need to make a comment or two. First, a couple minor corrections:

    – Larger FLNG units than Prelude are not under construction. Prelude is one of three FLNG units under construction and by far the largest, with throughput greater than both the other units combined.

    – Natural gas is not compressed into LNG. In fact, LNG is stored at atmospheric pressure. Compressors are used for the refrigeration process, if you want to get into details, but a better solution is to use the word “chilled” in place of “compressed”.

    Regarding the substance of the post, it vastly oversimplifies the situation. Yes, subsea pipelines are expensive and complex pieces of kit. However, FLNG vessels are also expensive, more so than onshore facilities, and they have a hard time achieving the scale of onshore plants. Prelude will process 3.6 million tonnes of LNG annually, about 1/2 to 1/3rd of most new onshore developments. The only reason Prelude works is that the field being developed is liquids rich, so Prelude will also produce a bunch of LPG and condensate. LNG alone would not support the economics.

    FLNG is also a new technology, and there are numerous bits that need to be proven in operation and improved to be generally applicable. For example, Prelude is located off north Australia, where the metocean conditions are quite benign (other than the occasional cyclone). Thus it can use side by side offloading to LNG tankers. However, trying to use this method elsewhere may not be so easy. I not seen weather data from the eastern Med, but I’d be surprised if a Leviathan FLNG could use the same product offloading technology.
    All of which is to say “yes, but.” Yes, FLNG is a promising development, *but* there are numerous obstacles and cost pressures to overcome before it becomes a widespread solution. Expecting FLNG to be a “disruptive force” in less than 15 years is folly, and it is entirely possible it never becomes a disruptive force at all.

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