Natural gas floating super-factories coming soon in cost-cutting innovation


WSJ profiles plans by an increasing number of natural gas producers to pack entire gas production plants onto superships bigger than aircraft carriers instead of building expensive land-based industrial complexes.

The new fleet of FLNGs demonstrates how the global race to provide cheaper gas supplies to Asian economies is pushing the boundaries of technology in the oil and gas sector.

The world's first FLNG vessel likely be the joint gas project off the coast of Colombia from Pacific Rubliales (PEGFF) and Excelerate Energy, set to start in Q1 2015.

The most talked-about project at last week's annual Gastech conference in Seoul was the 1,600-ft. long Prelude FLNG project led by Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B); expected to be the largest floating structure ever built, production capacity is seen at 3.6M metric tons/year of LNG.

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Comments (13)
  • JD in NJ
    , contributor
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    This is an interesting innovation, but I find the 'expensive land-based industrial complexes' line an interesting one. Will the largest floating structure ever built, with a full scale industrial complex on board, not be 'expensive'?

     

    Granted, as it can operate at sea there will be licensing, tax, and regulatory hurdles that may not need to be leapt. But what is the actual projected cost differential, and what will the actual cost differential turn out to be after we build some of these things?
    2 Apr 2014, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • Rope a Dope
    , contributor
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    If they manage to stay outside the reach of Captain Clueless and the EPA Jackboots, the savings could be enormous.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:18 AM Reply Like
  • JD in NJ
    , contributor
    Comments (1634) | Send Message
     
    And why hasn't Obama eliminated the EPA, anyway? It was instituted by Richard Nixon, after all, and the primary focus of politicians is to eliminate that which was created by their mortal enemy: The other party.

     

    It's nice that every single person in America can be neatly pigeonholed into one of two camps. Things are much simpler that way.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:21 AM Reply Like
  • Wise Timmy
    , contributor
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    More downward pressure on prices. The world is swimming in NG and looking for ways to export it.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:02 AM Reply Like
  • JD in NJ
    , contributor
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    I would be pretty happy to have a natural gas powered automobile. It should be a relatively trivial matter for a plumber to hook up a feed from my house so that I'd rarely if ever have to take a side trip to a fueling station.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:03 AM Reply Like
  • Copious28
    , contributor
    Comments (444) | Send Message
     
    I agree. I am waiting on a NG car as well.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:06 AM Reply Like
  • Rope a Dope
    , contributor
    Comments (708) | Send Message
     
    JDnNJ, I thought there were considerable pressure differences between a normal natural gas feed and that of a fueling station. I’ve only ever seen the fueling stations in Brazil but from the sound they make as the connect and disconnect the hoses, there sure sounds like a big pressure difference.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:33 AM Reply Like
  • JD in NJ
    , contributor
    Comments (1634) | Send Message
     
    Yes, I'm sure of that. There would need to be a compressor in play, and fueling might take a significant length of time. Fortunately my vehicle just sits there all night long anyway. It's similar to the equation for charging an electric vehicle in many respects, with the added bonus that special purpose filling stations could have a high-enough-pressure feed for much quicker refueling stops.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:43 AM Reply Like
  • Wise Timmy
    , contributor
    Comments (298) | Send Message
     
    I did a remodel project last year and put a natural gas line in to my garage in anticipation. I hear Ford is developing a NG powered F-150 so I will be ready when the time comes.
    2 Apr 2014, 01:08 PM Reply Like
  • Copious28
    , contributor
    Comments (444) | Send Message
     
    These superships sounds explosively large.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:08 AM Reply Like
  • DAVE22Q
    , contributor
    Comments (413) | Send Message
     
    there was never a ship that cost less than double the price of a land facility and there never will be. ask any ship owner or builder. we probably need new regulations including the legal extradition or assignation of all senior executives of any organization that significantly pollutes the words oceans. for precedent look at piracy, a crime against all and all have the right to capture and punish.
    even without a desire to escape pollution controls there might be an economic case to be made for a facility which could be moved from a coastal gas field when it taps out but the payout would have to be justified by reduced construction time and more than offset the shorter life, greater construction costs and higher maintenance costs of a floating facility.
    2 Apr 2014, 11:41 AM Reply Like
  • Not fooled in Nevada
    , contributor
    Comments (53) | Send Message
     
    CNG fueled cars are already in production and in the market. Westport Ind. has been the leader in converting Ford engines, both commercial and personal trucks. I would agree that licensing in the main will be a challenge as it has been difficult for getting licenses approved for land-based facilities via the EPA..Every time a creative idea to a problem comes forward, somehow our Big Gov't Ass just can't help itself but throw a stick into the spokes to shut down all progress..
    2 Apr 2014, 02:21 PM Reply Like
  • buckeye2001
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
     
    These platforms will be shipping ports free from State and Federal regulations when piped to ports floating in international waters.
    3 Apr 2014, 12:31 PM Reply Like
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