Safety on the high seas

The traditional procedure used in the LNG industry is to pump gas through pipelines to an onshore facility for liquefaction before transportation. Such onshore facilities require long pipelines to the coast and compression platforms in order to transport the gas over long distances. Moreover, civil engineering work close to shore, such as dredging and bridge construction, as well as road construction and the building of warehouses becomes necessary.

Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built. Source: Shell

This additional work is no longer required with the application of floating (FLNG) technology. This technology can be used to open up offshore gas fields that were previously too expensive to explore, due to either long distances to the coast or small gas fields.

A compact reciprocating compressor will be an essential safety system for Shell’s Prelude FLNG – the world’s largest FLNG facility. In this application, Lloyd’s Register’s requirement to use Marine Class 1A is a new challenge for compressor designers. A compressor that is installed on a floating facility must withstand wind gust speeds of up to 330 km/h as well as a maximum wave height of 27.5 m. A Neuman & Esser (NEA) compressor will be used in operations on Prelude FLNG . The compressor will compress from 8.5 to 89 bar and handle a volume flow of 380 Nm3/h. The very strict regulations were the main challenge as the output range of the company’s compressor is up to 100 000 Nm3/h suction volume and 1000 bar discharge pressure – whether the medium is nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, a heavy hydrocarbon, or wet gas (where the condensate must be separated).

This article was published in LNG Industry.

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