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UpstreamOnline: Shell floats LNG production unit (*let’s hope this is not another rigged Shell tender)

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By Mark Hillier

Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has unveiled plans to develop a generic floating liquefied natural gas production unit that will have capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum.

Jon Chadwick, executive vice president Asia for Shell Gas & Power, told the Gastech conference that the supermajor had devoted “substantive engineering hours to FLNG” and had come up with a design for a vessel that would be as much as 450 metres long and 75 metres wide.

The vessel will also have extra hydrocarbon liquids capacity.

He added that Shell intended to launch an international tender within about four months to selected consortia formed from shipyards in Japan and South Korea and international engineering, procurement and construction contractors to carry out work on the project.

Chadwick gave no further details on costs or time scales for the project, nor did he say where the supermajor might locate its first LNG production floater.

However, he said that the internal engineering work that the supermajor has carried out to date, which has included extensive evaluation and testing, shows that there are “no technical showstoppers for the concept”.

The design is also expected to be cyclone tolerant. That would make it suitable for waters off Western Australia where there are large quantities of natural gas waiting to be developed, as well as waters in some areas of Asia.

Offshore West Africa is another area where potential for floating liquefaction has been suggested, while Shell was recently linked to a reported proposal to locate an LNG floater off southern Iraq to process associated gas from Iraqi oilfields that is currently flared.

Shell has had a long interest in floating liquefaction dating back to the days when first attempts were made to commercialise the Sunrise field that is shared between Australia and East Timor.

Initially such efforts, which also involved it looking at other potential projects, such as Kudu off Namibia, did not yield fruit. Now though Shell is confident that things have moved on, with Chadwick arguing that: “we now believe that the time for FLNG has come”.
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10 March 2008 07:34 GMT  | last updated: 10 March 2008 07:34 GMT

http://www.upstreamonline.com/live/article150328.ece

*Headline comment in brackets added by John Donovan

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