Petronas' Kanowit field FLNG facility under construction

Petronas new FLNG vessel is under construction - photo from DNVThe Kanowit FLNG facility is under construction at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) in Okpo, South Korea, where first steel was cut in June.

Petronas Floating LNG 1 (Labuan) Ltd. signed a US$771million  contract for engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning (EPCIC) with the Technip-DSME consortium in June 2012. following a FEED contract in February 2011. Technip is designing the topsides in Kuala Lumpur and Paris. Hull engineering and construction are underway at Daewoo's Okpo yard.

DNV was awarded the contract to class the Petronas floating LNG (FLNG) facility in September 2012.

The unit is destined for the Kanowit gas field off Sarawak, Malaysia. It is expected to be the world's first floating liquefaction unit in operation when completed in 2015. [Shell's Prelude FLNG, destined for the Browse basin off NW Australia, is expected to begin operations in 2017.]

The Petronas FLNG will be 300m long, 60m wide, and will be moored 180km (112mi.) offshore Bintulu. It is designed to produce 1.2 million tonne/yr (mtpa) of LNG, boosting Malaysia's total LNG production capacity from 25.7 mpta to 26.9 mpta.

The scope of the DNV contract includes the floating structure, mooring arrangement, and natural gas liquefaction technology. Among the challenges of the project are:

• Cryogenic storage tanks that are tolerant to sloshing.

• Topsides that include gas pre-treatment and liquefaction processing equipment and ship-to-ship offloading equipment suitable for LNG transfer at sea.

• The FLNG unit negates the need for a costly or technically problematic offshore pipeline to transport gas to a land-based liquefaction plant and includes liquefaction technology, designed for use on a floating facility.

"The ability to process and offload LNG offshore will increase the viability of significant gas reserves in Malaysia's remote and stranded fields and beyond that, we foresee a number of these very high investment projects being built throughout the world as a means of developing gas fields and transporting the gas economically to market," says Conn Fagan, Vice President of floating gas project business development at DNV.

"There is currently a high demand for LNG," says Fagan.

It can be a cost-effective solution to supply the energy needs of rapidly growing cities such as those in Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as well as provide flexibile supply for consumers currently reliant on pipeline gas. This demand, coupled with the presence of large offshore gas reserves, some in remote locations, has made the floating LNG production unit an interesting technical and economic option.

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