Marine terminal service company Smit Lamnalco believes it has an important contribution to make as new safety regulations for floating gas terminal facilities are drawn up. Group Business Development Manager Andrew Brown points out that although there is some overlap on safety issues between floating oil and floating gas facilities, there are also important differences.
"A robust safety framework is well-established and clearly understood in the floating oil storage and production sector," Brown declares, "and the industry is now working on standard operating procedures, safety regulations and emergency response plans for the floating LNG sector."
Keeping the impeccable safety record
"But this is a new technology," declares Brown, "and it is advancing rapidly. It will enable the harnessing of vast gas reserves in offshore locations which so far have not proved economically viable. There are about 15 projects at various stages of development today but this number could easily double over the course of the next decade."
"The industry has an impeccable safety record because of the skill and expertise within the sector," he continues. "We must keep it that way."
Smit Lamnalco CEO Daan Koornneef explains that marine service companies like Smit Lamnalco have a key role to play in drawing up the necessary guidelines and procedures. We must be completely confident that our vessels and crews are fit for purpose in the event of an emergency."
Highly trained seafarers
Brown questions whether the industry should consider the possibility of making mandatory a dynamic positioning capability with redundancy (DP2) aboard gas shuttle tankers serving offshore floating gas facilities.
He also believes that as soon as cryogenic tandem transfer technology is sufficiently developed, the industry could move towards cargo transfer in a tandem configuration as opposed to a side-by-side arrangement. This has already been widely adopted in the FPSO sector.
Perhaps most important of all, however, is the urgent need for specialist tailored training for seafarers who are supporting floating gas terminal operations. Brown points out that the operation of specialist marine support vessels in this niche sector will require the very highest calibre of specially trained seafaring personnel.