Using FLNG vessels, three African nations will monetise stranded gas in deep and ultra-deep water over the coming decade
Underpinned by floating LNG (FLNG) technology, Mozambique, Mauritania and Senegal will become the newest African countries to export LNG starting in 2022, elevating the continent’s presence on the global LNG export stage. Sub-Sahara African countries Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon had LNG exports of about 29M tonnes in 2018, about 9.1% of the total global LNG trade. With nearly US$60Bn in investment, Mozambique alone will add 31.5 mta of new nameplate capacity to the Sub-Saharan region by 2025.
Overall, investments in FLNG and onshore capacity expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa will more than double the region’s nameplate capacity, from about 34 mta to 84 mta of LNG by 2025, according to energy research analysts Akap Energy Ltd.
Part of that new capacity will come from Africa’s first purpose-built and the third FLNG vessel, Coral Sul FLNG, launched in January at Geoje Island shipyard of South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI). Coral Sul FLNG will also push the floating technology envelope, monetising ‘stranded gas’ in ultra-deep water.
With a gas liquefaction capacity of 3.4 mta, Coral Sul FLNG will operate in water of approximately 2,000 m starting in 2022, fed by six subsea wells offshore Mozambique. Of the four FLNG vessels in operation, none operate in water more than 250 m.
Petronas’ PFLNG Dua, set for delivery in February 2020, will be the first to operate in deep water. When delivered, the US$1.6Bn PFLNG Dua will be moored over the Rotan Gas Field in water of 1,300 m, 140 km offshore Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Built for Italy’s Eni and the Area 4 partners, Coral Sul FLNG is part of the US$9.9Bn Coral South project that will put in production 450Bn m3 of gas from the Coral reservoir, offshore Mozambique. With the launch, Eni says the project is now more than 60% complete and on target to begin production by 2022.
Coral Sul FLNG has an overall length of 432 m, beam of 66 m and weighs approximately 140,000 tonnes. Its eight-story accommodation module, which will house up to 350 people, is also ready to be lifted and integrated with the hull system. Fabrication activities are also underway for the 12 gas treatment and LNG modules, with all main equipment ready for integration and first deck stacking executed, reports Eni.
In 2017, Air Products signed a contract with TP JGC Coral France to supply cryogenic coil wound heat exchanger (CWHE) technology and the liquefaction process license for Coral Sul FLNG.
TP JGC Coral France, a joint venture formed by TechnipFMC and JGC Corporation, and SHI are constructing Coral Sul FLNG with Air Products’ dual mixed refrigerant process. The liquefaction capacity will be 3.4 million tons per annum.
Air Products executive vice president Dr Samir J Serhan said: “The Coral South LNG Project is Air Products’ first time providing our proprietary LNG technology in Mozambique, and it will also be the first deep-water FLNG project for Africa. We believe our involvement with other FLNG efforts in different parts of the world gives us unparalleled experience in the floating LNG market.”
Eni executive vice president for the East Africa region Adriano Mongini, said: “The Coral Sul FLNG hull launching is an outstanding milestone which has been possible thanks to the commitment of Eni, its Area 4 partners, contractors and Mozambican authorities. We share the belief that Coral South is a pioneering project that will trigger further developments and new investments.”
Area 4 is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture SpA (MRV), an incorporated joint venture owned by Eni, ExxonMobil and CNPC, which holds a 70% interest in the Area 4 exploration and production concession contract. Other stakeholders in Area 4 are Galp, Kogas and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP, each holding a 10% interest.
Eni is leading the construction and operation of the FLNG facility on behalf of MRV. Between 2011 and 2014, Eni discovered substantial natural gas resources in the Rovuma basin, in the Coral, Mamba Complex and Agulha reservoirs, holding an estimated 2,400Bn m3 of gas in place. Eni also holds exploration rights to offshore blocks A5-B, Z5-C and Z5-D in the Angoche and Zambezi basins.
Investments of US$50Bn in separate Mozambique projects, Rovuma LNG and Mozambique LNG, will add another 28.1 mta of LNG nameplate capacity on top of Coral South FLNG’s 3.4 mta by 2025.
Near-shore LNG hub
Being developed in 2,850 m of water in West Africa, the BP-operated Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project will utilise an FLNG moored near shore on the Mauritania and Senegal maritime border. Gas from an ultra-deep-water subsea system will be fed to a mid-water floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will process the gas, removing heavier hydrocarbon components. The gas will then be transferred to an FLNG facility at an innovative nearshore hub.
The Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project is being jointly developed by BP, Kosmos Energy, Société des Pétroles du Sénégal (Petrosen), and Société Mauritanienne des Hydrocarbures et de Patrimoine Minier (SMHPM).
For the FLNG component, Singapore’s Keppel Shipyard is converting Golar LNG’s Moss-type LNG carrier Gimi. Once the conversion is complete, Gimi FLNG will be designed to produce approximately 2.5 mta of LNG under a 20-year contract for BP. Delivery of the vessel is expected in H1 2022.
Keppel Shipyard is teaming with US-based Black & Veatch on the conversion of Gimi. Black & Veatch is supplying its Prico liquefaction technology and performing detailed engineering and process design, specifying and procuring topside equipment, and providing commissioning support for the FLNG vessel’s topsides and liquefaction process. Commissioning of phase 1 is set for 2022.
This is the second time that Keppel Shipyard and Black & Veatch have teamed on an FLNG vessel conversion project. In 2014, Golar LNG choose Keppel Shipyard and Black & Veatch for the EPC contract for Hilli Episeyo, the world’s first converted FLNG vessel. Commissioned into commercial operation offshore Kribi, Cameroon, Hilli Episeyo allowed Cameroon to export LNG for the first time in 2018.
As for the Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project, Phases 2 and 3 will expand its capacity further, delivering additional gas from an ultra-deep-water subsea system, tied back to mid-water gas processing platforms. The gas will then be transferred to pre-treatment and offshore LNG facilities located at the established Phase 1 hub.
Advancing the development of Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project, BP awarded KBR’s UK operating subsidiary the Pre-FEED Services contract for Phases 2 and 3.
Separately, Linde was selected as LNG technology licensor for phases 2 and 3. Linde will provide technology licensing services, based on its MFC2 liquefaction technology. The company will also manufacture and supply the related cryogenic CWHEs, subject to a future call-off. Kosmos Energy says that a FID on phases 2 and 3 will be made in H2 2020.
The Republic of Congo, Gabon and Ethiopia are considering FLNG technology to monetise their gas resources. Much of Africa’s LNG is expected to find welcome buyers in Asia, particularly China and India.