TechnipFMC loading systems technical director Eric Morilhat shared lessons learned from offshore LNG offloading in the field at the LNG2019 conference in Shanghai.
Addressing the Shipping & Floating LNG session, Mr Morilhat shared details of developing TechnipFMC’s marine loading arm (MLA) technology, how it has performed in the field and what has been learned and incorporated into future technologies.
The MLA is assembled and precommissioned in a skidded submodule, with the complete package delivered to the yard and installed on board the floating LNG (FLNG) unit in a single-lift operation. Activities on board the FLNG unit are limited to commissioning activities, with time spent on board significantly reduced resulting in lower costs and better risk management.
Mr Morilhat looked to the first offshore LNG ship-to-ship transfer from Petronas’ FLNG Satu in March 2017 and the first offloading from Golar’s Hilli Episeyo in May 2018, noting these highlighted the importance of a solid commissioning programme to prepare the equipment first and a comprehensive training programme to prepare the crew.
Petronas and ENI have chosen TechnipFMC loading systems for their under-construction FLNGs in the Rotan and South Coral Fields, Mr Morilhat said, noting that his company currently holds the entire market share for offshore side-by-side loading systems.
Looking ahead, FLNG is set to expand into areas that experience more severe sea states. This has led to the development of articulated tandem offshore loader (ATOL) technology, which is designed for such conditions and incorporates an articulated piping assembly. It is fitted with a targeting system to ensure a safe dynamic connection and has offloading capabilities up to a significant wave height of 5.5 m. It can operate with a separation distance between vessels between 70 m-115 m, and has a typical offloading rate of up to 16,000 m3 per hour.
TechnipFMC has also developed a parallel loading system known as the LNG HiLoad, Mr Morilhat said, that combines stationkeeping and flexible aerial pipes, the Amplitude LNG loading system, to transfer LNG from an FLNG to a carrier without the need for modifications. While this technology has been around for a few years now, the system can also be used with the ATOL technology. This allows for high operability in significant wave heights of up to 4m.