Converting power plants to LNG and diversifying energy supplies are driving investment in new LNG terminals into the next decade
Opportunities for floating storage and regasification ships and new import terminals will emerge as more nations and communities convert power plants from oil to gas.
International Group of LNG Importers (GIIGNL) general delegate Vincent Demoury expects greater demand for terminals in 2020 and beyond.
“LNG terminals will be focal points for future energy systems,” he said at Riviera Maritime Media’s LNG Ship/Shore Interface Conference Europe in London on 28 November.
“A driver is increasing import capacity to increase security of supply and to diversify resources away from pipeline gas,” said Mr Demoury.
European nations, including Baltic states, Poland, Germany and Croatia have invested in new LNG import terminals to avoid relying on Russian pipeline gas.
“Another driver is LNG-to-power in developing countries to move away from oil power generation,” said Mr Demoury.
He highlighted at least 10 new import terminals being introduced in 2019 or slipping into 2020 in the Baltic, Mediterranean, China, India and in the Middle East.
Their commissioning has helped boost global LNG imports from 314M tonnes in 2018 to around 350M tonnes by the end of 2019, said Mr Demoury.
This is also linked to rising export volumes from the US and Russia providing additional supplies to more than 30 countries worldwide.
There is increasing use of floating storage and regasification units (FSRU) to import LNG for temporary and long-term projects.
ABS global gas solutions director Tor-Ivar Guttulsrød provided an overview of the options energy companies have in floating LNG import facilities.
He outlined different configurations between floating storage units, integrated FSRUs, barges and their interfaces with onshore infrastructure. There are challenges with each including mooring and jetty designs, choice of buoys and offshore moorings.
Mr Guttulsrød said factors to consider include the permanence of the facilities, import volumes, storage requirements, weather and sea conditions and future requirements for ship bunkering and reloadings.
Spanish energy group Naturgy has developed an innovative solution for distributing LNG to remote locations, or fragmented markets such as multiple islands where there are minimal import facilities.
Naturgy’s LNG on Wheels concept involves tanker trucks loaded on to a specially built or modified barge and transported to a floating storage vessel. These trucks will be loaded with LNG and the barge would then transport them to ports where they can be unloaded.
Naturgy LNG projects manager Miguel Duvison Santiago said this concept could be deployed in the Bahamas to distribute LNG to multiple islands. Naturgy has approval in principle from ABS for this concept.
Also at the conference, TechnipFMC research and development manager Stephane Paquet presented the Easy Drive loading arm with remote command, intuitive rectilinear control and proportional valves. These have sensors on the loading arm to calculate the required angle and flow plan, said Mr Paquet.
“The benefits are the rectilinear control, minimised operator training requirements and reduced connection time,” he said.
Connection times could be half of those for conventional driven loading arms with solenoid valves. Mr Paquet said existing loading arms can be retrofitted with Easy Drive.