Plans for a floating LNG factory

This new type of floating factory could give access to off-shore reserves, without the use of long and expensive ocean-bed pipelines
Experts estimate that natural gas reserves under the ocean bad amount to 85 trillion m3, but until now, remote off-shore gas reserves below the ocean floor were mostly off-limits due to the high cost of transporting gas in kilometres of pipelines along the ocean bed. This new type of floating factory could give access to reserves such as those situated in clusters 680km west of Darwin, Australia, and make a climate-friendlier contribution to global energy demand, as the methane that constitutes the most part of natural gas, emits 30% less CO2 than crude oil when it is burnt.

The special vessel, jointly designed by Dutch company, SBM Offshore and Linde, combines a huge tanker and a refinery and LNG-FPSO (Liquified Natural Gas-Floating Production Storage Offloading) is written along its hull.
The specially designed ship is 400m long and 65 m wide; its hull is 36 m high. The pipe systems and towers extend a further 40 m above deck and the integrated flare boom is over 100 m high. The ship is equipped with gas-extraction, purification and cooling facilities and can store the gas for several days. It also provides accommodation for the crew (up to 120 people) and control rooms.
The superstructures of floating LNG factories weigh up to five times more than those of off-shore oil-extraction ships, however the ship is much more compact than land-based gas liquefaction facilities, which can be ten times larger.
For the cooling process, the engineers chose Linde’s LIMUM® process, built around coil-wound heat exchangers and utilizing a single-mixed refrigerant, a process which Linde experts claim to be 40% more efficient than technologies based on nitrogen expander cycles and requires less space.
The heat exchangers were adapted in order to remain fully functional, even on the high sea: according to Linde, lab-based wave simulations showed that they could withstand a cyclone of highly exceptional magnitude. An LNG tanker should dock at the vessel every 8-10 days to collect up to 140 000 m3 of cryogenically frozen gas which will be re-vaporized and transported via pipeline, once on land.
The factory is expected to extract around 2.3 million tonnes of LNG per year, enough energy to cover the heating, electricity and fuel needs of a city of 2 million-inhabitants.