ABB To Support The Electrics of PETRONAS’ FLNG Facility

With the inherent geographic flexibility and low environmental impact of a floating LNG facility, the concept has gained much interest.
Published: Wed 25 Mar 2015

Swiss power and automation technology group ABB, has won a contract valued at over US$50 million to supply the electrical system for a commercial floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility.

Malaysian-owned FLNG

The facility, named PFLNG2, is owned by Malaysian oil and gas company PETRONAS and will be built at Samsung Heavy Industries’ yard in Geoje, Korea this year. When operations start in 2018, the facility will be moored over the deepwater Rotan gas field located off the Malaysian coast. It is designed to produce 1.5 million tons of LNG annually for at least two decades before it will need a dry dock.

The contract was awarded in the fourth quarter of 2014 by Japanese engineering contractor JGC Corporation. JGC is part of a consortium that is building the facility for PETRONAS, along with Samsung Heavy Industries of Korea.

Under the terms of the contract, ABB will support the optimization of the facility’s electrical side by designing, manufacturing and supplying transformers, switchboards, motor-control centers and a power management system. In addition, ABB will also manage the installation of the equipment and ensure the electrical supply is integrated with systems it is powering.

FLNG – great market potential

Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation Division says that the FLNG is a market with great potential.

FLNGs have long been considered an attractive concept, and a recent report by Douglas-Westwood estimates the market to be worth US$64 billion between now and 2020. The agility of FLNGs allows oil and gas companies to exploit fields that would otherwise be uneconomical, and their environmental impact is minimal when compared with conventional production platforms and pipelines. Over the past few years, three LNG vessels have been ordered via Petronas and Shell. We wrote recently about Shell’s Prelude FLNG which is set to be largest floating facility ever built. According to the article, it will unlock new energy resources offshore and produce approximately 3.6 million tonnes of LNG per year to meet growing demand. [Engerati-March’s Hot Trends in Energy Technology.]

FLNG plants resemble container ships, but are fitted with all necessary equipment to receive, liquefy and store natural gas extracted from offshore fields. The FLNG plant transfers LNG at sea to carriers that deliver it directly to the markets.

The machinery and controls supplied by ABB for PFLNG2 will be accommodated in two electrical houses, or e-houses, that stretch as high as a five-storey building. These prefabricated steel substations designed by ABB ensure the equipment remains safe from the corrosive marine environment as well as hazardous gas and provide a safe environment for the operation crew.

One particular challenge when designing systems for FLNG facilities is to make them compact enough to fit in a confined area. Floating facilities must include every process element of an onshore plant, including the means to generate the power necessary to compress the gas within limited space while still meeting demanding performance targets.

Africa uses floating power ships as a temporary solution

Floating power ships have also become an effective short term solution to parts of Africa that have a low supply of power. Many of these developing countries are using this source of power whilst waiting for energy projects to be commissioned. This is discussed at length in an exclusive interview with Patrick O’ Driscoll , Director Business development at Karpowership, who explains that project delays such as contract agreements, finance and building can take anything from three to five years. During this time, people’s power needs are often not met sufficiently. [Engerati-Floating Power Ships Fill Africa’s Energy Gaps.]