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LNGINDUSTRY | June 2014

June 2014

INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS
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automation and optimization solutions from Honeywell.
www.honeywellprocess.com

Meeting
challenges
you havent even thought of yet.

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developing new solutions built on proven components. Our Articulated Tandem Offshore
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side transfer solution accommodates massive new FLNG freeboards in the range of
82 feet (25 meters). And for tomorrow? Were practically there already.

Copyright FMC Technologies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

www.fmctechnologies.com

ISSN 1747-1826

CONTENTS
JUNE 2014

52 Safety on the high seas

03 Comment
05 LNG news
12 W.A. gas past, present and future

Martin Grolms, Neuman & Esser, Germany, argues that


compact reciprocating compressors will be crucial to
successful and safe operations on board Shells Prelude FLNG.

57 Sealing solutions

Jeff Haworth, The Department of Mines and Petroleum,


Australia, predicts a future success story for Western
Australian LNG.

Daniel Goebel, Dieter Klusch and Francesco Grillo,


EagleBurgmann, recommend the use of dry gas seals for LNG
compressors.

61 Impeller insight

12

Mantosh Bhattacharya, Petrofac, UAE, looks at centrifugal


compressor impellers used in the LNG industry.

Jeff Haworth, The Department of Mines and


Petroleum, Australia, predicts a future success
story for Western Australian LNG.

67 Speed control

W.A. GAS

Steve Rush, Nikkiso Cryo, Inc., USA, argues that cryogenic


submerged motor pumps offer high speed designs and
variable speed control advantages.

- past, present and future

71 Off with the boil off!

estern Australia ranks amongst the best


areas in the world for petroleum exploration
and development. Not only does it possess
world-class gas resources, it also has a proven track record
for developing world-scale, technically complex projects.
This started in the 1980s with the development of the
North West Shelf project a project that put Western
Australia at the forefront of LNG development in Australia.
At the time of its development, the North West Shelf was
the largest LNG project in the world. Later this year the
project will celebrate two important milestones 30 years
of supplying domestic gas and 25 years of LNG exports.
As development has increased, so too has the
importance of LNG to the global energy mix. Nations
around the world are seeking to balance growing global
energy demands with environmental expectations as they
move to lower emission fuel sources. LNG is helping to
balance those needs.
In 2012, Pluto became Western Australias second LNG
project to start production. This saw a noticeable increase
in LNG output for Western Australia in 2013 and LNG

JUNE 2014

LNG_June_2014_12-17.indd 12

05/06/2014 14:21 LNG_June_2014_12-17.indd 13

LNGINDUSTRY

Hans E. Kimmel, Ebara International Corporation, USA, and


Katarzyna Choast, PGNiGSA, Poland, describe a method of
producing subcooled LNG using thermodynamic evaporation
cooling with nitrogen as the agent.

73 Piping progress

13
05/06/2014 14:21

Developments in cryogenic pipe technology have


created opportunities for increased security and reduced
environmental impact for LNG installations. Julian Hepburn,
Eisenbau-Krmer, Germany, explains how.

18 Filling Australias talent gap

Matt Underhill, NES Global Talent, Australia, looks at the


specific skills needed to fulfil Australias LNG potential.

23 Q&A with BPs Amy Taylor

77 Project supports

Amy Taylor, a graduate in BPs Integrated, Supply & Trading


(IST) department, offers advice to graduates who might be
interested in working in the LNG industry.

Stuart Barry, Bergen Pipe Supports Group, UK, explains


the reality of the supply and delivery of support systems
throughout the life of a project.

31 Game to train

Adrian Park, Intergraph, Norway, says that 3D simulation


training has become vital in emergency scenarios.

LNGINDUSTRY | June 2014

Milan Vogelaar, Energy Delta Institute, the Netherlands,


explains how E-learning can improve learning experience in the
LNG industry.

Honeywell, including
UOP, offers a broad
portfolio of gas industry
solutions tailored to
deliver trouble-free,
efficient and profitable
operation. Combining
comprehensive safety and
security with complete
lifecycle support for the
production, processing,
storage, and pipeline
transmission and
distribution, Honeywell
products and services
meet the needs of even
the most challenging
industry applications.

June 2014

35 Not just hot air

Martin Walters, ANSYS UK Ltd, looks at how simulation can


mitigate the effects of hot air recirculation in LNG plants.

39 Something in the air

Rajeev Nanda, Technip, Paul Lindahl, SPX Thermal Equipment


& Services, and Dirk Eyermann, Air Tower LLC, USA, look at
the Freeport LNG terminals use of low environmental impact
technology.

INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS
FROM HONEYWELL
OPTIMIZE OPERATIONS

43 Fuel flexibility

Jonatan Byggmstar and Sren Karlsson, Wrtsil, Finland,


discuss increasing flexibility in LNG fuel handling.
Ivan Bach and Jeremy Barnes, GE Marine, Robert Clifford, Incat,
and Mark Dewey, Revolution Design, Australia, look at the
design and operability of the worlds fastest commercial ship
powered by LNG-fuelled gas turbines.

Copyright Palladian Publications Ltd 2014. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner. All views expressed in this journal are
those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher, neither do the publishers
endorse any of the claims made in the articles or the advertisements. Printed in the UK.

Reduce BOR and increase product delivery and profits


with Enovate 245fa. www.honeywell-blowingagents.com

www.lngindustry.com

46 The need for speed

Remove impurities for liquids recovery and liquefaction


with UOP LNG Pretreatment. www.uop.com

Improve your LNG business performance with measurement,


automation and optimization solutions from Honeywell.
www.honeywellprocess.com

FLP-310 LNG Ind Mag Cover_v5.indd 1

5/23/14 9:48 AM

LNG Industry is audited by the AuditBureau of Circulations (ABC).


An audit certificate is available on request from our sales department.

ON THIS MONTHS COVER

26 Coordinated online learning

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CALLUM OREILLY EDITOR

COMMENT
A

fter years of negotiations, Russia and China finally


thrashed out a multi-billion dollar, 30-year gas supply
deal last month at a summit in Shanghai.
The contract between Gazprom and China National
Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), estimated to be worth over
US$ 400 billion, will see Russia pump some 38 billion m3/year
of natural gas into China via the Power of Siberia pipeline,
starting around 2018.
Details of the huge gas deal are under lock and key,
presumably as President Vladimir Putin ended up giving away
more than he really wanted to. Russias desire to find a new
buyer for its gas in the wake of strained relations with the
West was undoubtedly more pressing than Chinas goal to
reduce the coal-fired smog engulfing the country.
Despite the uncertainty, market analysts predict
that China has secured a bargain price in the region of
US$ 9 - 10/million Btu. Crucially, this price is below the Asian
cost of importing LNG (Reuters estimates that Chinas average
LNG import cost stood at US$ 10.84/million Btu in April 2014).
This has prompted much commentary on the potential
implications for proposed LNG projects around the world.
Although the deal will not crowd out LNG imports into China
especially in the southeast of the country, which is some
distance away from where the Russian pipeline will emerge
it has set a benchmark for natural gas pricing in Asia, and
granted China greater leverage when negotiating contracts
with proposed LNG projects.
As a result, industry analysts fear that some of the
higher-cost LNG projects in North America, East Africa and
Australia will be less likely to be built. These projects need

james.little@lngindustry.com

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Advertisement Manager

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Managing Editor

James Little

to factor in significant capital expenditure and shipping costs


when calculating long-term sales agreements with customers
in Asia. However, Asian buyers will be reluctant to lock
themselves into long-term inflexible price arrangements at a
time when market dynamics are actively lowering prices.
Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia, was quick
to dismiss fears that the Russia-China deal could be set to
dash B.C.s LNG export dreams. Speaking at the recent second
annual International LNG in B.C. Conference, Clark stressed that
Canadian companies always expected the Russia-China deal
to be concluded eventually, while emphasising that B.C. can
offer customers in Asia security of supply: I dont think there is
a country in the world that today wants to depend on Russia as
their sole supplier of natural gas, Clark is reported to have said.
Although Clark may have expected the Russia-China
deal, there is little doubt that she would have hoped that it
hadnt come so soon. The key questions now are likely to be
what value Asia places on security of supply and which LNG
projects will be able to compete in the shifting energy market.
This issue of LNG Industry takes a closer look at a
more traditional problem for the LNG Industry: training and
recruitment. NES Global Talent examines the skills needed
to fulfil Australias LNG potential (p. 18) and we talk to Amy
Taylor, a recent graduate in BPs IST department, about what
a career in the LNG industry can offer graduates (p. 23). Amy
remarks: With the shifting political landscape [...] this industry
is going to continue to change. This means the emergence of
new opportunities that need to be seized and new risks that
need to be managed. It will be interesting to monitor how the
LNG industry rises to its latest challenge.

dare to discover

Enhance safety, reliability and productivity for your gas operations.


Honeywell, including UOP, offers a broad portfolio of gas industry solutions tailored
to deliver trouble-free, efficient and profitable operation. Combining comprehensive
safety and security with complete lifecycle support for the production, processing,
storage, and pipeline transmission and distribution, Honeywell products and services
meet the needs of even the most challenging industry applications.

Watch the video


PRODUCTION

PROCESSING

PIPELINES

DISTRIBUTION

STORAGE

For more information on the integrated solutions for LNG, visit


honeywell-blowingagents.com, honeywellprocess.com or uop.com
2014 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.

LNGNEWS
USA

Australia

DOE proposes changes to LNG export process

WorleyParsons receives QCLNG contract

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed


to review LNG export applications to non-free trade
agreement (FTA) countries and make final public interest
determinations only after completion of the review
required by environmental laws and regulations that are
included in the National Environmental Policy Act review
(NEPA review). As such, the DOE will suspend its practice
of issuing conditional authorisations.
The DOE believes that the proposed changes to
the manner in which LNG applications are ordered and
processed will ensure an efficient process by prioritising
resources on the more commercially advanced projects,
while also providing the DOE with more complete
information when applications are considered and public
interest determinations are made.
In addition, the DOE will initiate an updated
economic study and is releasing two environmental
reports that address the environmental footprint of
unconventional natural gas production and the lifecycle
greenhouse gas impacts of US LNG exports.
The proposed procedural change and environmental
reports will be available for a 45-day public review and
comment period.

orleyParsons Australia has been awarded an


Engineering and Project Services Provider contract
in support of the ongoing expansion of QGCs Queensland
Curtis LNG (QCLNG) development. The contract covers the
annual programme of works associated with the existing
coal bed methane (CBM) facilities and the LNG plant in
Queensland, including the upstream CBM well heads,
gathering pipelines, gathering compression and central
compression facilities. It also includes the midstream
reception facilities, LNG process trains and tanker loading
facility.
The scope of services includes: concept, FEED, detailed
engineering, procurement, construction management, project
engineering, project management, operations and field
support services. WorleyParsons will provide greenfield and
brownfield services from its Brisbane and regional offices, as
appropriate.
WorleyParsons Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Wood,
said: WorleyParsons is delighted with this award as it reflects
the success of our relationship with QGC for Phase I of the
QCLNG development and the improved solutions we came up
with for Phase II. This contract provides the opportunity for us
to continue to contribute to QGCs operations into the future.

France

Total signs LNG SPA with Pavilion Gas

otal has signed a 10-year LNG sale and purchase


agreement (SPA) with Pavilion Gas, a subsidiary of
Pavilion Energy, for the supply of 0.7 million tpy of LNG to
Asia starting in 2018.
Several LNG cargoes, sourced from Totals global LNG
portfolio, will also be supplied prior to 2018.
Philippe Sauquet, President Gas and Power, Total,
said: Total is delighted to build a key commercial
relationship with Pavilion Gas [] This long term sales
agreement to deliver LNG to Asia, including Singapore,

reinforces our strategy to expand LNG trade in this region


and thus to meet the growing energy demand of this
market.
Seah Moon Ming, Chief Executive Officer, Pavilion
Energy and Pavilion Gas, said: Pavilion Gas values this
partnership with Total. This is an important development
for Pavilion Gas as a regional LNG player in meeting
the growing energy needs in Asia. This deal with Total
strengthens Pavilion Gas LNG supply portfolio as it
provides supply diversification from global LNG sources.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

LNGNEWS
Canada

CB&I wins Goldboro LNG FEED contract

ieridae Energy Canada (Pieridae) has awarded CB&I the


contract for Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) for
the Goldboro LNG export facility.
Goldboro LNG will consist of a processing plant and facilities
for the storage and export of LNG, including a marine jetty.
The LNG plant is anticipated to produce approximately
10 million tpy of LNG and have on-site storage capacity of
690 000 m3 of LNG.
The FEED phase will determine the layout of the facility and
associated components, as well capital expenditures, which are
currently estimated at US$ 8.3 billion.
Alfred Sorensen, President and CEO of Pieridae, said:
Having received Environmental Assessment approval from
Nova Scotias Minister of Environment in March 2014, the
selection of CB&I to undertake FEED is another important
milestone towards designing and constructing Goldboro LNG.
Patrick K. Mullen, President of CB&Is Engineering,
Construction and Maintenance operating group, said: We look
forward to working with Pieridae on the Goldboro LNG project,
which, upon completion, will serve as North Americas closest
mainland LNG export terminal to Europe and India.
Pieridae anticipates that, at its peak, the Goldboro LNG
terminal will create up to 3500 jobs during construction and 200
full-time, permanent jobs during operations.

Norway

DNV GL leads new LNG carrier concept


project

NV GL has initiated a joint industry project to define


the state-of-the-art next-generation LNG carrier.
Along with experts from across the industry,
including GTT, Hyundai Heavy Industries and GasLog,
DNV GL aims to develop a new LNG carrier that has
a significantly improved environmental footprint. The
LNG carrier will also be more energy efficient and better
suited to future trading patterns than existing vessels.
The project will include the latest technology
advances in cargo containment and propulsion efficiency.
Martin Davies, the Project Manager at DNV GL, said:
Recent technological developments make this a good
time to look forward to a new generation of ships []
Using tools such as our COSSMOS power management
design computer platform and state-of-the-art hull
optimisation software, we are confident it is possible
to develop a vessel that will be future-competitive and
future-compliant, with significant advances across a
range of features, including speed-range flexibility, hull
form and boil-off rate.
The project is due for completion by the end of this
year.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

XXLNG exports to double Queenslands GDP


XXWellgreen Platinum signs LNG MOUs
XXGE acquires a division of Cameron
To read more
about these
stories go to:

6 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

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the website

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Image courtesy of Freeport LNG Development, L.P.

Freeport Liquefaction Project


Freeport, Texas USA

SMART SOLUTIONS FOR THE


ENTIRE LNG LIFE CYCLE
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LNGNEWS
Canada

China

TransCanada to provide vital LNG link

IHI receives LNG tank order from Wison

ransCanada Corp. has announced that its wholly-owned


subsidiary, NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd (NGTL) has
signed agreements with Chevron Canada Ltd (CVX) and
an Apache Canada Ltd. wholly-owned and controlled
partnership (APA) for approximately 1.9 billion ft3/d of firm
natural gas transportation services. This will underpin the
development of a major extension of TransCanadas NGTL
System.
The proposed Merrick Mainline Pipeline Project will be
a significant new link in British Columbias (B.C.) emerging
LNG export market. The pipeline will transport natural gas
sourced through the NGTL System to the inlet of CVX/APAs
proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP), which will terminate at
the Kitimat LNG Terminal at Bish Cove near Kitimat, B.C.
The proposed project will be an extension from the
existing Groundbirch Mainline section of the NGTL System
beginning near Dawson Creek, B.C. to its end point near the
community of Summit Lake, B.C. The US$ 1.9 billion project
will consist of approximately 260 km of 48 in. dia. pipe.
TransCanada is continuing to advance its development
work on the project, including field studies, engineering
and design work, and pipeline routing, to support
applications for regulatory approvals and to finalise project
requirements.

HI Corp. (IHI) has received an order from Wison


Group of China for two IHI self-supporting,
prismatic shape, IMO type B (IHI-SPB) LNG tanks to
be installed on a floating storage and regasification
unit (FSRU).
The 12 500 m3 capacity tanks will be constructed
at IHIs Aichi Works and delivered at Wisons
Nantong shipyard in the second half of 2015 prior to
installation on the FSRU, which will be operated by
the joint venture of Exmar BV and Pacific Rubiales
Energy Ltd.
IHI-SPB features no sloshing technology, which
enables any level loading of LNG inside the tank
offshore. It also has a flat upper deck, which enables
installation of the topside plants on the upper deck.
The tanks are most suited to use in floating LNG
(FLNG) and FSRUs. They are required to stay offshore
and operate safely for many years without dry
docking.
IHI said that it was ready to accommodate
increased demand for SPB tanks over the coming
years. To facilitate this, it has introduced the
automated aluminium fabrication facility at its Aichi
Works.

DIARY DATES

25 - 28 August 2014

22 - 25 September 2014

10 - 13 November 2014

Stavanger, Norway
www.ons.no/2014/

Houston, Texas, USA


pumpturbo.tamu.edu

Abu Dhabi, UAE


www.adipec.com

ONS 2014

Turbomachinery & Pupm Symposia

ADIPEC

16 - 19 September 2014

24 - 25 September 2014

18 - 21 November 2014

London, UK
www.lnggc.com

Singapore
share@stocexpo.com

Paris, France
world.cwclng.com

LNG Global Congress

8 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Tank Storage Asia

15th World LNG Summit

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LNGNEWS
USA

Bolivia

SCT&E LNG submits export application to DOE

Demaco wins VIP contract

CT&E LNG, a subsidiary of Southern California Telephone


& Energy (SCT&E), has submitted an application to the US
Department of Energy (DOE) to export LNG to countries with an
established free trade agreement (FTA) with the US.
SCT&E LNG is looking to export 0.54 billion ft3/d
(4 million tpy) of domestically produced LNG from its Cameron
Parish project, Louisiana.
SCT&E LNG has contracted the global law firm
K&L Gates, LLP, which has previous experience of dealing with
liquefaction and regasification projects around the world, to
provide regulatory, policy, and commercial advice for the project.
The company recently acquired approximately 246 acres of
land for the project site on the east bank of the Calcasieu Ship
Channel on Monkey Island. It has begun the regulatory process
to build, own, and operate an export manufacturing terminal at
the site.
SCT&E LNG is working with Federal and State government
representatives on permits and approvals to start construction
of the project.
Supporters of the project expect over 1000 construction
and ancillary jobs, and over 100 permanent positions with an
ongoing flow of taxes and fees to the state of Louisiana and
Cameron Parish.

emaco has been awarded the contract


to engineer, produce and supply vacuum
insulated pipelines (VIP) for the transfer of LNG on
a new plant in Rio Grande, Bolivia.
The order came from the consortium Indox
Cryo Energy (Ros Roca Sener), which has won the
contract in Bolivia. The consortium will construct
an LNG plant that will supply natural gas to
six of the countrys nine regions. Yacimientos
Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), the
company contracting the project, has scheduled
operations to begin by the end of 2014.
The new LNG plant will serve 140 000
households and 5000 commercial users in
13 smaller cities.
The VIP have process diameters ranging from
2 to 8 in. with a total length of over 0.5 km.
The LNG plant will have the capacity to
produce 200 tpd of LNG that will be transported
in cryogenic tanks to Regasification Satellite
Stations (ESR), which will regasify the LNG and
distribute the gas through pipelines to houses and
commercial users.

Singapore

Singapore launches first LNG-fuelled power plant

acificLight Power has launched Singapores first LNG-fuelled power plant located on Jurong Island. The 800 MW
combined gas turbine power plant, worth S$ 1.2 billion (US$ 955 million) will be entirely fuelled by LNG. The
project represents the sovereign city-states attempt to diversify supply sources, boost its bid to become a natural
gas trading hub and curb reliance on piped natural gas.
Yu Tat Ming, CEO of PacificLight Power, said: Traditionally, we only rely on piped natural gas coming from our
neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia [] LNG is international so you can source it from every part of the world.
Earlier this year, Singapores first LNG terminal was officially opened by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at a
ceremony held at the Terminal on Jurong Island.

10 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

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W.A.

Jeff Haworth, The Department of Mines and


Petroleum, Australia, predicts a future success
story for Western Australian LNG.

GAS

- past, present and future

estern Australia ranks amongst the best


areas in the world for petroleum exploration
and development. Not only does it possess
world-class gas resources, it also has a proven track record
for developing world-scale, technically complex projects.
This started in the 1980s with the development of the
North West Shelf project a project that put Western
Australia at the forefront of LNG development in Australia.
At the time of its development, the North West Shelf was
the largest LNG project in the world. Later this year the
project will celebrate two important milestones 30 years
of supplying domestic gas and 25 years of LNG exports.
As development has increased, so too has the
importance of LNG to the global energy mix. Nations
around the world are seeking to balance growing global
energy demands with environmental expectations as they
move to lower emission fuel sources. LNG is helping to
balance those needs.
In 2012, Pluto became Western Australias second LNG
project to start production. This saw a noticeable increase
in LNG output for Western Australia in 2013 and LNG

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

13

became Western Australias second-most valuable


commodity, behind only iron ore. Output increased to a
record 19.2 million t and LNG sales were valued at
AU$ 13.3 billion, an increase of 18% on the previous year.
In terms of a global perspective, Western Australia
currently exports 6.3% of the worlds LNG exports, with
more than 3500 cargo exports since 1989.
Western Australias significant contribution to the
worlds LNG supplies looks set to expand into the future. By
2017, Australia is expected to produce 87 million t of LNG,
ranking it above Qatar as the worlds leading LNG exporter.
During the same period, Western Australia will more
than double LNG production from 20 million t to 50 million t.
This equates to 57% of Australias expected total production
up to 2017. Such increasing production will be driven by the
completion of the massive Gorgon and Wheatstone projects.
However, it is not just production that is increasing; so too is
the amount spent on exploration.

Exploration in Western
Australia

Western Australia features extensive areas of petroleum


bearing sedimentary basins. Its offshore basins alone are
nearly four times as large as the North Sea and there is still
much to be discovered. In 2012 - 2013, AU$ 4.7 billion was
spent on petroleum exploration in Australia. More than
AU$ 3.2 billion of that was spent in Western Australia and its
offshore waters.
Offshore basins continue to attract the majority of
petroleum exploration expenditure in Australia. However,
onshore exploration expenditure rose to 28% of the total
amount spent in 2012 - 2013. This is with good reason. As
substantial as the States offshore LNG resources are, there is
even more potential onshore.

Shale and tight gas

Western Australia has an estimated potential of


280 trillion ft3 of recoverable natural gas from shale and
tight rock. To put this figure into perspective, it is more than
double Western Australias known offshore reserves. This
potential has already attracted interest from major players
such as Buru Energy, Mitsubishi Corp., ConocoPhillips
and Hess. If these estimates are proven, natural gas from
shale and tight rock presents a remarkable opportunity for
Western Australia.
However, opportunity alone is not enough. Most people
would be aware that there has been some fairly unflattering
media coverage surrounding the development of shale and
tight rock gas resources. This coverage has not been isolated
to one particular state or country, but rather has been seen in
a number of jurisdictions around the world. Much of the
coverage surrounds the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or
fracking, as it is also known. Community confidence in this
emerging sector will be critical. This is why it is essential to
ensure that companies and the community have a clear
understanding of what is required to responsibly develop
Western Australias resources.
Openness and transparency helps build confidence in
emerging sectors such as shale and tight gas and therefore
supports future development. However, it is not just the

14 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

government that must inform and engage with the


community, it is also important that companies work closely
with the communities in which they operate; in other words,
they need a social licence to operate.
There are many good examples throughout Western
Australia of companies working within communities. The
sheer number of successful resource operations across
Western Australia is testament to this fact.
However, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to gaining
community acceptance. It is a subjective concept, and what
is suitable for one community may not be so for another.
One thing communities do have in common, however, is a
foundation of transparency, trust, two-way communication
and goodwill.
It is also important that the community has an
understanding of the kind of timeframe involved in
developing a shale and tight gas industry in
Western Australia. To give an indication of this timeframe,
the development of the shale gas industry in the US took
approximately 25 years. Proof of concept efforts started in
1980, horizontal drilling was applied in 1995 and significant
production was achieved by 2005. However, the US has high
levels of equipment and services, access to infrastructure
and petroleum ownership rights.
Therefore, the development of Western Australias shale
and tight gas resources will require a considerable
investment in infrastructure and a clear understanding of
what is required to responsibly develop the regions shale
and tight gas resources. Only by working with industry and
the community can Western Australia make the most of the
opportunities presented by the development of its onshore
and offshore gas resources.

Cost of doing business

The cost of doing business in Australia is also a challenge.


The country has stiff competition from two new major LNG
regions North America and East Africa. However, Western
Australia still has some distinct advantages including both
its proximity to Asia and its history of supply. For example,
it takes 10 days to move a cargo of LNG from Western
Australia to Japan. It currently takes 64 days to ship LNG from
Louisiana in the US to Japan. Even in 2015, when the Panama
Canal is widened to accommodate most LNG tankers, it will
still take 43 days to complete the journey.
Spot charter rates for an LNG tanker is around
US$ 90 000/d. This highlights the difference in
transportation costs and the importance of Western
Australias geographical position to key Asian markets.
Another way to increase the regions cost
competitiveness is through investment in innovation.

LNG 18 and innovation

In 2016, Western Australias capital, Perth, will host LNG 18,


one of the worlds largest LNG events. The event is expected
to bring 5000 local, national and international delegates to
Perth and is testament to Western Australias position as a
global LNG hub.
Western Australias reputation is also reflected in the
number of global companies that have Australian head
offices based in Perth. It is now home to the largest

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concentration of global oil and gas companies in Australia.


Between 2010 - 2012, 85 global companies that specialise in
supporting resource projects have either established
themselves or significantly expanded their presence in
Western Australia. Of these companies, nearly half are from
the oil and gas industry.
This is in addition to the already established presence of
oil and gas companies in Western Australia. More than 300
international companies servicing the oil and gas industry
have a presence in Western Australia, including the
Australian head offices of six out of the top seven
international oil companies. These companies operate
projects across Australia. They also service and supply oil and
gas exploration and production across the Indian Ocean and
Pacific region, and they recognise that Western Australia is a
centre of scientific and technological innovation, particularly
in the energy and resources sector. Major petroleum
operators, service providers and research institutes have
recognised the potential and research capability found in
Western Australia.
Chevron, GE, IBM and KPMG are just some of the
companies to have established oil and gas related R&D
centres in Western Australia, as has Australias national
science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial
Research Organisation (CSIRO).
Western Australia also features five universities and three
technical institutes that offer energy-related courses and
research.
Additionally, there are a number of globally recognised
research centres that have been established through
government, industry and university partnerships. These
include organisations such as the University of Western
Australias Energy and Minerals Institute, the Minerals
Research Institute of Western Australia, the WA Energy
Research Alliance, the Centre for Energy and the Centre for
Offshore Foundation Systems.
These organisations bring together not just Australias
brightest minds, but leading researchers from across the
globe, and this investment in knowledge has led to the
recognition of Western Australia as a global solutions centre
for oil and gas.
Western Australia is also poised to become a world
leader in the operation of new technologies. For example,
Shells Prelude project in Western Australia is likely to be the
worlds first floating LNG (FLNG) project.
Western Australia already has a world-class
manufacturing hub for fabrication, assembly, maintenance
and technology for the oil and gas industry. The Australian
Marine Complex, located near Perth, enables industry to
deliver projects on an international scale. Companies such as
BHP, ENI, Shell, Woodside and Rio Tinto have already
completed major infrastructure projects there.
This also gives future FLNG developments the potential
to use the world-class expertise, locally available through the
Australian Marine Complex. This has not occurred overnight,
but is the result of a sustained period of investment into
R&D.

16 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Reforms

As well as industry and universities, innovation from


government is vital. The Western Australian Department of
Mines and Petroleum has introduced a number of reforms
across approvals, safety and environmental regulation that
aim to provide clarity, efficiency and certainty for industry.
Since 2009, the Department of Mines and Petroleum has
rolled out a number of online systems that allow companies
to lodge, track and pay application fees online. This has
helped improve the quality of applications and the efficiency
of the approvals process.
The impact of these approval reforms was recently
highlighted by the Western Australian government. In 2007
the number of applications awaiting approval was nearly
19 000. It is now approximately 5000 the lowest level in
almost two decades. In the last year the Department of
Mines and Petroleum has granted exploration over nearly
17 000 km2 of land that was previously tied up in the
approvals process. This is an area approximately half the size
of Belgium.
These reforms also bring accountability and clarity. By
shining a light on this process, it is possible to see what
works and what needs to improve.

Global demand for energy

In the coming years, the global importance of the gas


industry is set to grow significantly. Nowhere will this be
more evident than in China, which will play an intricate role in
the increasing global demand for gas.
Just as Western Australian iron ore has played a vital role
in fuelling Chinas construction boom, so too will Western
Australian gas play a role in fuelling Chinas energy demands.
Currently, only 5% of Chinas electricity is generated by
natural gas. This has been forecast to increase to 8 - 10% by
2015 and 12 - 15% by 2020. This would see Chinese gas
consumption increase by 167% over the next decade.
China is already Western Australias second largest
market for petroleum exports after Japan. Any increase in
Chinese gas consumption presents a remarkable opportunity
for Western Australia.
However, it is not just Chinas gas consumption that is set
to increase. Over the next two decades, the world will need
more natural gas in order to meet energy demands and Asia
will be one of the biggest consumers: from Japan and
South Korea, to China and India, the demand for natural gas
is going to significantly increase across the region. This is
particularly so as the world lessens its reliance on coal for
energy production.

Conclusion

With its close proximity to Asia, large reserves of gas and


historically reliable supply, this presents an incredible
opportunity for Western Australia. But it is an opportunity
that flows beyond Western Australia and even Australia. The
opportunity to be a part of Western Australias oil and gas
industry is one that the international business community has
become increasingly aware of in recent times.

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FILLING

AUSTRALIAS

TALENT GAP
18 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Matt Underhill, NES Global


Talent, Australia, looks at the
specific skills needed to fulfil
Australias LNG potential.

ustralia has more than AU$ 200 billion worth of


LNG projects under construction and more in the
pipeline, yet many of the developments currently
underway have already reached peak manpower, meaning
that recruitment activity has slowed. However, while the
construction phase of these projects tails off, operators
and stakeholders are faced with the next big hurdle to
overcome before they realise the eagerly awaited first gas,
namely finding the many hundreds of skilled operations and
maintenance staff they need to run the assets.
Industry experts predict that Australia, currently the
worlds third largest LNG exporter, could overtake Qatar and
Malaysia to become the biggest by 2020. According to the
Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration
Association (APPEA), an unprecedented level of LNG
investment has flooded into the country. Companies must
now focus on ensuring that they have staff with the specific

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

19

skillsets needed to operate and maintain these projects.


NES Global Talent estimates that at least 2000 operational
workers were employed across Australia last year in similar
capacities, and this is predicted to rise to 5000 by 2016. In
a country which has a limited population and is
geographically remote, this type of recruitment will not be
an easy task.
One of the biggest hurdles Australia needs to
overcome in this regard is that not only is the country
starting from a relatively low skill base, but it is also faced
with a global skills shortage. As has been widely reported,
more than half of experienced engineers are eligible to
retire during the next 5 - 10 years, and there are too few
suitable skilled professionals coming through the ranks to
replace them. Staffing in the oil and gas industry has often
relied on its abilities to move skills around the world to
alleviate pockets of demand. However, if global demand is
stretched, then this is an increasingly difficult task.
While there is no quick fix to addressing the skills
shortage in Australia, and indeed across the world as a
whole, the oil and gas industry is working hard to attract
the people it needs. Steps are being taken across the globe
to attract a more diverse range of people, including more
women, into the industry.
Despite making up half of the workforce, women have
traditionally been underrepresented in engineering. While
a great deal is being done to encourage young women to
study the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering
and mathematics), this gender disparity continues to exist.
However, there are a number of new initiatives in place
that aim to redress the balance.

ex-servicemen and women having systems and project


management experience, a strong eye for detail and the
ability to follow processes and procedures closely all
qualities that are highly sought after in the oil and gas
industry. As well as offering hard skills such as logistics,
telecoms and engineering, service leavers also possess a
range of soft skills, including being able to think on their
feet and adapt quickly to new environments; crucial in the
ever-changing oil and gas sector.
Outside of recruiting new staff, operators are also
working hard to ensure that skills are passed from senior
employees to the next generation of engineers and that
knowledge and skills are also transferred across
geographic and cultural boundaries. Skills and knowledge
transfer programmes are a key tool in helping the industry
ensure that it has appropriately trained people. Companies
also recognise the importance of reducing the high cost of
maintaining an international workforce by recruiting and
re-skilling local talent.
It is essential to keep workers once they are employed.
Sophisticated employee retention strategies, including
attractive benefits packages, are another consideration for
the industry, but again, they come at a price.
Despite the hurdles, Australia still has a lot going for it,
not least of which is that it is perceived as one of the most
attractive locations in the world to work in, and rightly so.
Indeed, the energy boom and the high number of job
opportunities available led to Western Australias
population increasing by 3.4% in 2012, compared to 1.7%
for the country as a whole.

Education

Getting the staff with the right operational expertise


and experience is vital if Australia is to fulfil its LNG
potential. The country currently has three operating LNG
developments the North West Shelf Venture, Darwin
LNG and the Pluto gas field. A further seven are currently
under construction Gorgon, Wheatstone, Ichthys and
Prelude on the north or northwest coast, and Australia
Pacific LNG, Queensland Curtis LNG and Gladstone
LNG in the northeast Queensland region with more in
the pipeline. As these new developments come online,
Australias export capacity is set to soar. According to
the Energy Information Administration (EIA), total current
capacity under construction is 3 trillion ft3/year and this
should be operational by 2017.
The APPEA reports that over 27 000 people are
currently working in Queenslands natural gas industry. In
addition, the three operating and four new LNG projects
under construction in the north and northwest are also
generating new jobs.
The AU$ 55 billion Gorgon project is one of the worlds
largest natural gas projects and the largest single resource
in Australias history. The project, which is being
constructed on Barrow Island, around 60 km off the
northwest coast of Western Australia, includes a
three-train, 15.6 million tpy LNG facility and a domestic gas
plant with the capacity to provide 300 TJ/d of gas to
Western Australia. First gas is planned for mid-2015 and it

In mid-2013, Australias Defence Science and Technology


Organisation introduced scholarships in science and
engineering for female high school and undergraduate
students through three of Australias leading universities
the Australian National University, the University of
New South Wales and the University of Adelaide. The
scholarships are designed to encourage high-performing
female students to take up or continue undergraduate
studies in science and engineering. NES Global Talent
envisages that more of this type of initiative will be
established in the future.
As well as working with educational establishments
and institutions to educate the younger generation about
the careers available working as an oil and gas engineer
and emphasising the importance of the STEM subjects,
cross training from other industries, such as power and
infrastructure, could also help the sector find the skills that
it needs. Along with recruiting staff to work on the build
phase of many of Australias LNG projects, the industry is
also boosting operational expertise by recruiting from the
mining industry. This is an industry that has suffered of late
due to a cyclical downturn in commodity prices. This
represents a huge opportunity for oil and gas recruiters,
although skills will need to be retrained and refocused.
Other talent pools are also being explored with some
success. The military is one such source with

20 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Development

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is expected that more than 10 000 jobs will be created across


the country, including approximately 6000 on and around
Barrow Island.
The AU$ 29 billion Wheatstone project is another of
Australias largest resource developments. The project, which
is located 12 km west of Onslow on the Pilbara coast of
Western Australia, will consist of two trains with a combined
capacity of 8.9 million tpy and a 200 TJ/d gas plant with first
gas expected in 2016. An estimated 6500 direct and indirect
jobs will be created at peak construction.
The Ichthys field, located in the Browse Basin, which is
approximately 220 km off the northwest coast of Western
Australia, represents the largest discovery of hydrocarbon
liquids in the country in 40 years, estimated at more than
500 million bbl. The project is expected to produce
8.4 million tpy of LNG, as well as 1.6 million tpy of liquefied
petroleum gas (LPG) and 100 000 bbl/d of condensate at its
peak.

Innovation

Australia is not only home to some of the worlds largest LNG


projects, but also some of its most innovative. Construction
work is currently underway on Prelude, the worlds first
floating LNG (FLNG) facility, designed to enable access to
offshore gas fields that would otherwise be too costly or
difficult to develop. When complete, Prelude will be 488 m
long x 74 m wide and will be the largest floating offshore
facility in the world. It is being built at the Geoje Island
shipyards in South Korea and once constructed will be towed
to its location, approximately 475 km north-northeast of
Broome, Western Australia. The project is expected to create

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around 250 direct and 650 indirect jobs, with recruitment


ramping up in 2013 and 2014.
Australias LNG industry is providing a welcome boost to
the economy. According to the APPEA, from 2011 to 2012,
Australian LNG cargoes earned almost AU$ 12 billion in export
revenue, and with a raft of new projects coming online
between 2015 - 2017, existing facilities being expanded, and
the countrys close proximity to expanding Asian markets,
export capacity is set to grow substantially.
However, it is not all plain sailing. According to the EIA,
the Australian LNG industry faces acute capital cost increases
due to a number of factors, including the shortage of skilled
labour, the relatively high wages paid, the appreciation of the
Australian dollar to the US dollar, environmental regulations
and the remote location of some projects. This has resulted in
increased project costs, which could put some proposed
developments at risk of delay and means that the country
faces increased competition from other LNG hotspots such as
North America and, further down the line, East Africa, which
has been tipped as a new LNG frontier.

Conclusion

In order to make the most of Australias huge LNG potential,


energy companies must come up with innovative solutions
to fill the talent gap. If the industry can overcome the skills
shortage by encouraging more young people to become
engineers and attracting top talent from around the world
by promoting the exciting job and lifestyle opportunities
available, then Australias LNG industry looks set to fulfil its
potential of becoming the worlds biggest LNG exporter by
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with BPs Amy Taylor


Q

Amy Taylor, a graduate


in BPs Integrated,
Supply & Trading (IST)
department, offers advice
to graduates who might be
interested in working in
the LNG industry.

What is your current


job title and area of
responsibility?

I am a Commercial Development Analyst. In this role I am


responsible for financial and market analysis. Spain has
six LNG regasification terminals, through which it receives
LNG for domestic use and it also reloads LNG to sell
to the market. It receives piped gas from Algeria and is
linked to the European market through its interconnection
with France. This balance of both LNG and natural gas
supply combined with changing domestic, European and
global demand means the Spanish market is very exciting

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

23

right now. I work with the Madrid team and our London
gas and LNG teams to understand these markets. Im
currently analysing the cash flow forecasts for this year
and looking at how these are changing depending on the
deals we do. Im also examining the foreign exchange
hedging process to ensure the procedure we use is still
relevant and appropriate within the evolving business
structure.

What does the BP IST


graduate programme
entail?

The way the scheme works is that you have three


one-year placements across the business. After the
first year you feed back on the technical and soft skills
youve acquired and where youd like to go the following
year. There is a real focus on development, with an
emphasis on developing your competencies as much as
possible. Youll also be sent on courses to develop both
technical and soft skills, such as fundamentals of trading
and negotiation skills. There is no typical graduate
experience because you choose your three roles and
the roles offered are dynamic, changing depending on
business need.
As a BP IST graduate you are assigned a mentor from
the Commercial Graduate Scheme Leadership Panel. They
are available to talk through any questions you have on
personal and career development, which has been very
helpful for me when trying to decide what roles to apply
for while on the scheme. Alongside this you also meet
people in different areas of the business through graduate
functions or your day-to-day role. This enables you to
build an understanding of the breadth of career paths
possible in the company and an informal network that you
can turn to for career guidance.

How has your early


career developed?

I spent my first year at IST BP in the Treasury


in the Corporate Risk Management team. The primary
responsibility of that role was managing the foreign
exchange programme for BP. All Business Units would
submit their predicted foreign exchange exposure for the
year and as a graduate I was responsible for running the
programme on a daily basis and passing those orders
down to the Treasury Trading team to execute currency
trades. I had the opportunity to see the company at a
macro level and the flows of money. This provided me
with an insight into the overall picture of BP. I was also
involved in different areas of the Treasury Function, such

24 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

as Corporate Finance and the Bond and Debt Teams. I


carried out research which I presented to the Treasury
Executive Committee including the Group Treasurer.
Last year I worked in Jet Trading Operations a front
office role where you sit on the bench with Traders and
are responsible for the physical movement of cargo. I
primarily covered Scandinavia and the UK. The traders
would make a deal and then I was responsible for the
optimisation of the physical movement of the cargo from
that point onwards, which is a lot of responsibility. On the
operational side of things you need to expect the
unexpected! That may be a scenario that neither you nor
your colleagues have ever come across before. The role
requires that you liaise with internal and external
stakeholders lots of moving parts in different time
zones.
In September 2013 I moved to Madrid to work in the
Gas Team, which has given me exposure to a completely
different product. Im based within a smaller team, which
is something Ive found to be very beneficial. In this role I
am exposed to the whole deal cycle and see much more
of how the different functions work together. Throughout
each rotation Ive been very fortunate to experience a
breadth of products and skill sets. Every rotation sets you
up for the next and it is very encouraging to know that my
previous experience on the programme is helping my
professional development.

What advice would


you give to graduates
looking to work within
the LNG industry?

Working in LNG is to work across a breadth of products


and markets, against a complex and constantly evolving
regulatory environment. It is a fascinating area to work
within. Having an understanding of the changes taking
place in the industry is important to demonstrate
enthusiasm, for example, through reading the BP Energy
Outlook and following news which impacts the industry.
With the shifting political landscape and increasing
focus on environmental concerns, this industry is going
to continue to change. This means the emergence of new
opportunities that need to be seized and new risks that
need to be managed. This provides a fast paced
environment in which graduates have the opportunity to
develop technical and soft skills. The roles in the
industry demand a commercial analytical capability
combined with interpersonal skills. I would advise
graduates to look for ways in which they can
demonstrate that they have developed these skills to
potential employers.

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JUNE 2014

Milan Vogelaar, Energy Delta


Institute, the Netherlands,
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improve learning experience in
the LNG industry.

earning has traditionally been an activity that took place in a classroom and on the job. Over the
past few decades, advances in technology and learning platforms have enabled learning to take
place at any time and in any location. E-learning has evolved and is growing quickly: the American
Society for Training & Development (ASTD) estimates that US organisations spent approximately
US$ 156.2 billion on employee learning and development (L&D) in 2011. And Certifyme.net estimates that
E-learning is a US$ 56.2 billion business roughly 30% of the total L&D market.
The term E-learning was first used in 2004 and, since its inception, has undergone a rapid evolution.
Businesses and institutions are transforming their classroom programs to include online courses or are
developing entirely new E-learning programs. The reason for this trend is that there are many advantages to
E-learning; most obvious are the flexibility and the cost savings from not having to travel or spend time
away from work. Having access to online learning materials, including videos, animations and graphics,
whenever and wherever is a major advantage for learners. E-learning enables learning to take place without
taking people away from the office for longer periods of time and this is beneficial for both the employer
and the employee.
So how does this affect the LNG industry? The LNG industry is a fast growing global industry with a
large influx of new people who need training and education. While training is often treated as a one-time
event, with little or no reinforcement after the fact, E-learning can provide access to education for extended
periods of time to deliver true capabilities and performance improvement to businesses. For that reason,
Energy Delta Institute (EDI) has restructured its cutting edge Master Class LNG to include E-learning content
and is implementing E-learning throughout its programs, as well as developing stand-alone E-learning
courses.

E-learning in a broad sense

E-learning refers to the use of computers, tablets and


smartphones in education and is synonymous with multimedia
learning, computer based training (CBT) and web based training
(WBT). For many people, E-learning is already a tried and trusted
way of learning. Online platforms for sharing information and
assignments have been used in basic and higher education for
years. E-learning has also been widely adopted by companies
to inform and educate both their employees and customers.
Multinational corporations use it to train and educate their
workforce on the latest product developments or safety
standards without the need to organise physical courses onsite. A
rule of thumb that is generally used in E-learning is that if training
is required for 100 persons or more, developing an E-learning
training is more cost-efficient and effective than providing
traditional classroom training.
E-learning can take place synchronously or asynchronously.
In synchronous systems, participants meet in real time and
teachers conduct live classes in virtual classrooms. Students can
communicate through instant messaging during class or ask
questions after class. In asynchronous learning, which is
sometimes called self-paced learning, students are expected to
complete lessons and assignments independently through an
online learning platform. Asynchronous courses also have
deadlines, but each student is learning at his or her own pace.
This is a major advantage because in traditional classroom
training, the teachers pace is often determined by the slowest
learner in the classroom.

Online learning platform

Similar to regular training or education which takes place


in a classroom, E-learning requires a learning environment.

This environment is often called an online learning platform


and provides access to classes, educational materials, tests,
assignments, grades, assessments and external resources. An
online learning platform is also a social space where students
and teachers can interact through discussions and (peer)
assessments.
Online learning platforms are the basic component of
E-learning and allow for:

Content management content creation, storage and access


to learning resources.

Curriculum mapping and planning lesson plans,


assessment and personalisation of the learning experience.

Learner engagement and administration managed access


to learner information, resources, tracking of progress and
achievements.

Communication and collaboration messages, notices,


discussions, video, blogs.

The online learning platform offers the benefit to track learner


progress through learner analytics (the analysis of data of learners
and their environment to improve education). This works in two
ways. The added value for learners is that it enables them to
compare their progress to others. The added value for course
administrators, teachers or moderators is that they can engage
the learner when someone has not finished a section or
assignment. Learner analytics show what learners are struggling
with. For businesses, a learning platform allows for detailed
information on progress, performance and other valuable
metrics. This information can be used to improve and personalise
education to deliver the best results.

Different forms of E-learning

E-learning can be adapted to the specific requirements and


desires of learners. These recent developments include blended
learning, massive open online courses (MOOCs) and social
learning. For those not working in education it is often hard to
grasp what these terms mean and how they are perceived by
learners.

Blended learning

Figure 1. LNG carrier question.

The combination of classroom learning and E-learning is called


blended learning. It combines the benefits of student-teacher
discussions in the physical classroom with additional E-learning
resources. When blended learning is properly applied, the
best of two worlds is combined, resulting in better student
performances. Because educators are becoming increasingly
aware of this and learners expect it, blended learning is projected
to become increasingly popular in the coming years.

Massive open online courses

Figure 2. LNG storage question.

28 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

MOOCs are a recent development in the field of online learning.


They are freely accessible university courses aimed at a large
number of participants. The first MOOCs were organised in 2008.
Leading MOOC providers include Coursera, edX, and Udacity. To
date, Udacitys CS1010 was the largest MOOC with an enrolment
of over 300 000 participants. Most MOOCs use video lectures,
thereby combining traditional forms of teaching with modern
technology. Next to traditional learning materials, MOOCs also
provide interactive user forums in which students, professors and
teacher assistants communicate with each other.

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Assessing learner performance is one of the more challenging


aspects of MOOCs because of the large number of participants.
Assessments are commonly completed through machine-graded
multiple-choice tests and peer-reviewed written assignments.
Completion rates of MOOCs are typically below 10% since registered
students tend to only explore the content without completing the
course. This is because self-motivation and discipline are essential for
learners wanting to successfully complete a MOOC.

Social learning

The term social learning is coined to capture the idea that students
increasingly have the need to share knowledge and interact with
each other online. Initially, online learning was largely one-directional.
Students were able to watch presentations, recorded lectures
and additional documents online. However, with the rise of social
media, the need to communicate and interact with other students
has increased. When students help other students, the learning
experience is reinforced. This is increasingly being facilitated online
by educators through peer assessments and assignments in which
students must collaborate.

Courses

For the past few years, EDI has been involved with E-learning. Its
approach to E-learning is to provide its learners with an intuitive
online learning platform and interactive E-learning content.
Participants in its courses can engage with lecturers, have access
to learning materials and engage with other participants through
discussions on the platform. EDI continuously improves its
educational programmes and online learning platform to ensure
satisfied customers.

The E-learning content developed by EDIs in-house


development team consists of interactive story-based modules
with 3D animations. The learner plays a role in the module and is
part of the story. The E-learning content thereby captures and
maintains the attention of learners to achieve maximum effect. EDI
provides custom-built E-learning modules for the energy industry at
request.

Online learning

EDI introduced its first online learning modules in 2013 as part of the
Master Class LNG Industry. Participants in this Master Class were
able to learn the basics of the LNG industry through an in-house
developed E-learning module. The goal was to equip all participants
with a basic understanding of the LNG industry, thereby increasing
the quality and level of the classroom sessions. For this purpose, EDI
developed visually attractive and engaging E-learning, which was
highly rated by the participants of the course.

The changing energy landscape

EDI is currently developing E-learning modules that focus on the


ever changing energy landscape. The energy system as a whole
is a complex, multifaceted environment, which is fairly unknown
to most people. EDI decided to build a series of modules on the
changing energy landscape to offer both energy professionals
and non-energy professionals an interactive overview of
the energy system. These E-learning modules can be taken
stand-alone, are story-based and take approximately 30 minutes
to complete. The modules of the energy landscape are on diverse
topics such as energy resources, sustainability and energy
efficiency.

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Game
TO
TRAIN

Adrian Park,
Intergraph,
Norway,
says that 3D
simulation
training has
become vital
in emergency
scenarios.

econds count during emergency situations in LNG facilities. Hazards include


flammability of the source gas and after vaporisation of LNG into a gaseous state,
freezing and asphyxia. Plant floor workers, control room operators and emergency
response personnel all need to be able to respond quickly and effectively perform
the correct procedures to prevent minor incidents escalating into major catastrophes.
Planning for emergencies in an LNG facility has become an integral part of a safety
management programme, which also takes into account international, national and
local requirements, particularly legal ones. Planning and response encompasses
every stage of the value chain from extraction and transport of gas to the LNG plant,
treatment, refrigeration, liquefaction, storage and loading, transportation of the LNG to
market and receiving terminals and regasification. This broad scope means that training

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

31

is extensive, and therefore very expensive, for training


both plant floor and emergency personnel.
Traditional classroom based training typically suffers
from high costs and poor results with low knowledge
retention; the pace of training has to accommodate the
slowest trainee, the number of trainees that can be taught
in a class is limited and the valuable trainer resource is
tied-up during the whole training period. Where on-site
training is carried out with a mentor, the numbers of
trainees are even further restricted for effective
communication and safety reasons, and trainees can be
distracted by noise and other ongoing activities.
3D-based training simulation solutions based on
serious gaming technologies can provide an improved,
highly immersive and interactive training experience. With
the purpose of minimising the occurrence and harmful
effects of accidents involving technology and
environmental emergencies, real-time high-fidelity
simulation solutions provide a wide range of simulation,
training and engineering solutions that can be used by
instructors, operators, engineers, maintenance staff,
inspectors and planners. 3D-based training simulators
based on computer gaming technologies have proven to
be highly effective in the training of personnel in other
industries such as pilots, offshore crane operators and
military personnel. Studies have shown that virtual,
serious games based training can both reduce the time
required for training and improve knowledge retention. 1
The new generation of recruits to the LNG industry belong
to the computer-savvy gaming generation and even older
workers quickly adapt and appreciate the engaging
experience of 3D immersive training.
Not all LNG facilities have a 3D model available to use
as a basis for 3D training. For state-of-the-art solutions
such as 3D PACT this is not an issue, as low-cost 3D laser
scans with high definition photographs can be used as an

Figure 1. LNG tank being uploaded on a vessel.

32 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

alternative. This gives trainees an even better immersive


experience, as the true appearance of equipment is
apparent and many minor components that may not
typically be included in a 3D model will be shown.

Keeping it real

In addition to navigation in a 3D/laser scan model, a


prerequisite for a virtual immersive training tool is the
capability to build realistic training scenarios. Hazard
evaluation and quantification experts can identify on-site
and off-site hazards, build simulation scenarios in 3D
and train and assess the ability of emergency response
personnel. These tools provide an escalating sequence of
events and emergency procedure scenarios for the teams
to be trained and tested accordingly. Tools such as 3D
PACT provide a simple interface to define the steps in a
training scenario. No programming or scripting skills are
necessary so that training and subject matter experts can
rapidly build up training scenarios themselves after only
1 - 2 of weeks training. Where needed, users can also
create and add photorealistic, custom-made equipment
into the 3D/virtual representation, including welding
machines, locks, switches, transmitters, scaffolding, etc.
These custom-made and placed objects immediately
become part of the facility and are available to use in the
configuration of training scenarios. Best in class solutions
also include a fully configurable dynamic animation
system and particle effects system, including steam,
fire, foam, water, bubbles and sparks. These give added
realism to emergency scenarios where liquids can escape
and catch fire, or where rooms fill with smoke, hampering
visibility, etc. All objects are subject to real physics,
allowing falling objects, such as the swing of a crane, to
be accurately simulated.
Further realism can be gained by integration to a
built-in or third-party simulation engine. This provides
trainees with an in-depth view and
insight into process dynamics under
normal and abnormal operating
conditions. As motors are started,
pumps operate and fluids flow, the
level of liquids in vessels responds to
the opening and closing of valves, etc.
An important aspect of a training
scenario is how the trainee and
co-workers are presented in the
scenario. Best in class systems can
require the trainee to select the
appropriate personal protection
equipment for the task to be simulated
that will then appear on the avatar
representing the trainee and
co-workers. Avatars are able to walk,
run, jump, crawl, crowch and climb
ladders in a realistic fashion. The
trainee can choose to either see the
scenario from the avatars point-ofview, an over the shoulder view from
behind the avatar or toggle between

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the two. In emergency situations, realistic damage can be


simulated on the avatar to provide added realism to the
emergency scenario.
The scenario that is presented can require the trainee
to perform a given operation. It can appear in a tutorial
mode where the user is shown how the tasks are
undertaken or in a test mode where the trainee has to
select what equipment to operate and how to operate it,
as well as answer questions. Co-worker avatars in the
scenario can either assist or hinder the trainee in the
performance of the task. In test mode, all responses, the
length of time and a score are recorded. The user receives
continual feedback on the progress of the training
scenario and his/her score. At the end of the exercise the
trainee is given a detailed summary of the scenario and
result. The results of the training exercise are held
securely in the system and can be integrated with a
Learning Management System (LMS) if required.
Training scenarios can be created specifically for
emergency training purposes or for routine activities such
as maintenance, inspection, lock-out/tag-out, etc.
Performing planning and preparation for routine activities
from a desk not only saves time, it also offers a risk-free
environment for workers to practice and gain confidence
to perform inspections and condition-monitoring tests.
Through a remote database connection, employees can
further monitor real-time plant status and operational
data and gather visual feedback of equipment status
away from the facility. Scenarios can be created where
routine activities can be optionally interrupted by a
hazardous situation, such as the leak of fluid or gas from
equipment, to test whether the trainee can act
appropriately to the emergency situation that arises.

Benefits of virtual,
immersive training

Simulation of real-life situations becomes essential for


emergency preparedness training, not only because
addressing dangerous hazards can save plant assets and
operation, but because it fundamentally saves lives. The
software helps companies create awareness of potential
threats or unsafe situations, including workers making
dangerous actions or performing work in an unsafe
manner. In addition, companies can evaluate whether

emergency response personnel know which equipment


to use and which procedures and routes to follow during
emergencies.
Simulation training has become vital for preventing
incidents and accidents in many industry sectors, and LNG
plant operators are not foreign to this trend. Simulation
training also improves process control, resulting in higher
throughput and quality with less downtime.
Once a training scenario has been created by a subject
matter expert it can be run by trainees without the need to
take up the time of specialist trainers, thus reducing
training costs. Trainees can re-run the training as many
times as needed and proceed at their own pace. Immersive
training is a more engaging, enjoyable experience for the
trainees who experience immediate feedback. This leads to
higher motivation to undertake training.
By training staff to perform complex operations that
may be non-routine or potentially hazardous, plant
operators reduce the risk of both injury to personnel,
environmental damage and financial loss.
Maintenance is reduced because equipment is
operated closer to specifications. Costly errors and
incidents can be minimised or eliminated with the right
training plan and equipment, of which process simulation
is a key and cost-effective component. Most importantly,
trainees experience an enjoyable, highly immersive, and
engaging training experience, resulting in faster and
better training results, all at a lower cost.
By automatically capturing and storing all training
performed in the system, immersive training simulators
keep an auditable record of staff training, preparedness
and certification to undertake work. It may be important in
some jurisdictions to prove that the plant owner has taken
appropriate measures to ensure that staff are properly
trained to undertake hazardous work and for payment of
worker compensation claims from insurance companies.
In the 3D-simulated environment, trainees can easily
visit areas of the plant that may be physically or
logistically difficult to access (due to heat, noise, poor
access/egress, etc). This allows them to become familiar
with these areas that they may have otherwise avoided.

Conclusion

LNG facilities are inherently hazardous places to work and


many routine and non-routine operations
can give rise to hazardous situations.
State-of-the-art 3D training simulation
solutions allow instructors and supervisors
to train and evaluate staff more efficiently
and effectively than ever before, and
empower them to quickly determine staff
proficiency and identify skills that need to
be improved. This leads to a better trained
and motivated workforce and lower rates
of incidents, leading to more sustainable
operations and increased production
opportunities.

Reference
Figure 2. Screenshot of an emergency response exercise on 3D PACT.

34 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

1. Roman, A., and Brown, D., Games


Just How Serious Are They?, IITSC,
2008.

Martin Walters, ANSYS UK Ltd, looks at how simulation can


mitigate the effects of hot air recirculation in LNG plants.

NG liquefaction processes
rely on air coolers to
provide the cooling duties.
Plant performance is dependent
on the temperature of the air
supplied to both the air coolers
and the gas turbines used to
power the process being close
to the ambient air temperature.
With the congested nature of
plant equipment around LNG
facilities and the large volume
of heat emitted on a typical site,
there is a real threat of warm air
recirculation on air coolers and gas
turbine intakes. If this occurs, the
performance of the plant can be
significantly impacted.
Hot air recirculation studies
carried out using computational
fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation
are an established tool used
during the design and operation of
LNG liquefaction facilities to
assess this issue.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

35

Figure 1. Hot air plume over the simulated Yamal LNG site
coloured by the originating unit for the plumes.

Grouping common types of sources of hot air together


can help to reduce hot air recirculation by allowing plumes to
combine, increasing their buoyancy and allowing them to rise
more quickly away from the site. Ensuring that units with
very different exhaust velocities are not in close proximity is
also useful, e.g. not mixing forced and induced draft air
cooled heat exchangers in the same fan bank. Where these
units are mixed and placed close together it is common to
find that the forced draft air cooler unit plumes are entrained
by the intakes of the induced draft units. The relatively
slower air exhausted from the forced draft air coolers is
pulled into the induced units more easily. Where possible, it
is often best to replace forced draft units with induced draft
units altogether.
More site wide considerations can include aligning the
LNG trains and banks of coolers with the prevailing wind
direction and ensuring adequate spacing between different
sets of units. Gas turbine positioning and exhaust stack
heights should also be given careful consideration.

Case study: Yamal LNG

Figure 2. Pathlines tracked to the air cooler intakes coloured


by temperature.

To achieve this, a 3D model of the entire site and


surrounding terrain is built and airflow across the site under
various wind conditions is simulated. The hot air plumes from
all the equipment around the site can be monitored to
understand whether this is pulled into the intakes of critical
equipment.
ANSYS has over 10 years experience of carrying out hot
air recirculation studies on LNG facilities around the world.
Such studies allow process engineers, designers and
operators to understand the potential for warm air
recirculation and to assess the effectiveness of mitigations
and design changes that can be applied to reduce the
likelihood of this occurring.

Design factors

There are many factors that govern site design for LNG
plants. It is frequently the case that consideration of hot air
recirculation will come second to process requirements and
practical aspects. There are several common problems that
occur in designs that can usually be avoided.
Placement of air coolers or intakes in the shadow of other
equipment and blockages can cause recirculation to occur on
these units under certain wind conditions. If an air cooler is in
the wake of a building it is likely that recirculation will occur. It
is therefore better to raise air coolers above surrounding
equipment to ensure that ambient air is supplied to the units
uninterrupted by upstream obstacles.

36 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

On a recent project, ANSYS looked at the proposed Yamal


LNG facility. Yamgaz, a consortium between Technip and
JGC Corp., is performing the Engineering, Procurement
and Construction (EPC) package for the design of the
site to be located near Sabetta on the Yamal Peninsula
in northern Siberia. The project will process gas from the
South Tambey Field. The facility will consist of three LNG
trains (5.5 million tpy each) with associated utilities, power
generation and storage and export facilities.
Yamal LNG has significant challenges due to its remote
location in one of the worlds harshest environments. Yamgaz
is keen to use the most advanced simulation technology to
maximise its design and has chosen ANSYS consultancy
services to carry out a hot air recirculation study.
This project posed particular challenges from a hot air
recirculation perspective. The majority of the modules on the
site have a high degree of cladding to protect them from the
extreme weather conditions in this region. This dramatically
increases the blockage represented by the modules. Heavily
clad modules effectively act as bluff bodies that generate a
large amount of turbulence in their wakes as the air flow
separates around the modules. These turbulent wakes can be
extremely problematic as they can allow any hot air plumes
nearby to be pulled down to intake level as they mix in these
regions. With more obstacles to the incoming airflow, the
paths taken for air to reach the intakes can become more
convoluted. This can add to the problems seen across the
site.
Many of the proposed mitigations from this work have
now been incorporated into the design, and from the
simulation study it is possible to show that this has been
successful in significantly reducing the potential for hot air
recirculation across the site. An example of this was the
spacing between the LNG main piperacks and the modules.
The original design would provide adequate distance
between these units under normal circumstances, however,
owing to the amount of cladding that was necessary, it was
found that if the spacing was increased then the airflow to the
air coolers would be improved.

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Analysing data

Using more sophisticated methods of analysing the data


from these models, it is possible to isolate individual hot
air plumes from specific units of a plant and calculate their
impact on air intakes across the site. This ability allows
process engineers to gain a detailed understanding of the
exact causes of problems that would not be possible by
any other means. It is possible to apportion the sources of
hot air recirculated on all units and map this data to build a
detailed picture of how the entire site responds to changes
in design and atmospheric conditions.
Based on the case study, Figure 1 shows an example
where the hot air plumes rising from the simulated Yamal
LNG plant are coloured by the units that the plumes
originate from. From data such as this, one can determine
that the contribution to hot air entrained by a specific unit,
e.g. a gas turbine intake, is 20% from unit X and 80% from
unit Y. This allows ANSYS to target design changes
specifically to where they are needed in order to fix the root
cause. The flow field around an LNG plant can be extremely
complex, and as the plumes from many units combine, it
can be difficult to define how some problems occur. These
methods enable further understanding of these problems
and ways in which to fix them.
This data can also be used by plant operators to
understand how the plant would respond to changes in the

wind strength and direction, and can allow them to modify


operating conditions to optimise the output throughout a
given time frame.
For example, most LNG sites operate in coastal regions
where it is common to see shifts in wind patterns across a
daily cycle. Having a method that allows the impact of hot
air recirculation to be mapped against these changes can
provide a tool that site operators can use to troubleshoot or
guide production and improve efficiency.

Conclusion

When reducing hot air recirculation, it is important to


understand the impact of a range of wind directions
and speeds on the performance of an LNG plant design.
Different problems present themselves under different
wind conditions and it is important to fully explore these
issues. CFD is an established tool in exploring how a design
will perform in the real world and allows designers and
engineers to examine different ways of improving designs.
Advances in simulation systems render it now common
practice to run many models parametrically across large
distributed computational resources to understand the full
design envelope engineers are working within. By
considering such issues at an early stage in plant design,
problems can be identified and dealt with before major
work is required to rectify issues.

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air

Something in the
Rajeev Nanda, Technip,
Paul Lindahl, SPX Thermal
Equipment & Services, and
Dirk Eyermann, Air Tower LLC,
USA, look at the Freeport LNG
terminals use of low environmental
impact technology.

ncreasing demand in the LNG


chain for transporting natural gas is
making investment in LNG extremely
attractive. However, the cost of liquefying
and then vaporising LNG is high. High fuel
gas consumption is also associated with
higher environmental emissions from the
facility. Approximately 8 - 10% of a plants
input is used as fuel in LNG liquefaction and
around 1.8% of plant throughput is used as
fuel in LNG regasification. On top of this,
transportation costs are high.
An average 7.2 million tpy
(1 billion ft3/d) LNG vaporisation terminal
requires approximately 5275 billion kJ/year
(5000 billion Btu) of heat for LNG
vaporisation. At a cost of
US$ 4.74/million kJ (US$ 5/million Btu) of
natural gas, the fuel gas cost is
approximately US$ 25 million/year.

Regasification terminal developers would like to use free


sources of heat, such as from the seawater via open rack
vaporisers (ORV) or from the waste heat generated by a
co-located facility such as a power plant, refinery or
petrochemical plant. Air is another source of free heat, which will
not only save on expensive fuel and operating costs, but will help
significantly reduce emissions. The use of seawater could be
cost-prohibitive in some locations and regulatory agencies may
not favour the use of seawater in some parts of the world. This
may make air an attractive choice for many locations.
The use of air for large scale LNG regasification is relatively
new to the industry, with the development of new technologies
in early 2002. Freeport LNG is one of the first terminals to use the
heating tower (air tower, a reverse acting cooling tower) for LNG
vaporisation. The Freeport LNG terminal is designed for
10.8 million tpy (1.5 billion ft3/d) send out gas and was on stream
in August 2008. This article outlines some of the air-based
technologies that are available and compares them with a
heating tower application. Most of the air-based technologies
have similar design, implementation and operational issues to
the heating tower system.
When the Freeport LNG project began operations in 2008, it
had six operating vaporisers and the operation of a seventh
vaporiser could take the project to its peak capacity of
12.6 million tpy (1.75 billion ft3/d). The shell and tube vaporisers
and the LNG send out pumps were amongst the largest built for
LNG application at that time. During operation, the air towers and
fired heaters are often used simultaneously.
The fired heaters are equipped with ultra low NOx burners
designed for 9 ppmv NOx emissions. The combination of fired
heater and air tower operation ensures that the NOx is below the
stipulated annual limit. The plant operation is a fine balance
between the power consumption, fuel gas consumption and the

Figure 1. Conceptual scheme for Freeport LNG terminal.

Figure 2. Comparison of air recirculation between standard


cooling tower configuration and Freeport LNG configuration.

40 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

emission limitation. The successful start up of this terminal has


demonstrated the viability of air-based technologies for large
scale application while meeting all the stringent emissions and
regulatory requirements.

Air as a heat source technology


The technologies utilising air as the heat source for LNG
vaporisation can be broadly categorised as follows:

Utilising air to vaporise LNG in a direct ambient air vaporiser


with LNG in tubes.

Utilising air to heat the intermediate heat transfer fluid in


air-fin type exchangers.

Utilising air in a reverse-acting cooling tower, thereby heating


water, and in turn, vaporising LNG directly or indirectly.
There are other emerging technologies that utilise specialised
equipment for heat exchange with air. These applications are
successful on a small scale. However, the issues surrounding
large scale use are different and are discussed below.

Heating tower for Freeport LNG

Figure 1 shows the conceptual scheme for the air tower in


the Freeport LNG project. Although there are various ways of
integrating an air tower, the one at Freeport LNG utilises the shell
and tube exchanger for LNG vaporisation with ethylene glycol as
an intermediate fluid flowing in a closed loop circulation. In such
a scheme, the fluid circulates through the loop consisting of LNG
vaporisers and intermediate plate and frame type exchangers.
When the air tower is not operating during the winter, the
intermediate fluid is heated in a fired heater. In summer, when no
heating is required from the fired heater, the intermediate fluid
exchanges heat with water from the air tower. For flexibility, the
system is designed to have part of the heat from the air tower
and part from the fired heater. It is important to note that the
power consumption required for circulating the water by pumps
for the system is significant. There is a point of diminishing return
to extract the heat from the air tower as winter approaches. The
moisture in the air condenses as air gets cooler and there is a net
production of water in the process. The excess water is disposed
of from the air tower sump.
The heating tower of the Freeport LNG project has 12 cells
and is designed for a send out capacity of 10.8 million tpy
(1.5 billion ft3/d). The tower dimension for the 12 units are
218 m (length) x 25 m (height) x 20 m (width). The tower is
designed for the heat duty of approximately 272 MW.

Tower performance and weather


conditions

Both direct and indirect atmospheric heat exchangers have a


performance curve that is dependent upon the inlet air wet bulb
condition and approach temperature. It is important to point out
that the inlet air conditions and ambient air conditions are not
always identical. In a zero-recirculation case, these conditions will
be the same, but any amount of recirculation of effluent air into
the inlet will reduce the inlet dry bulb and wet bulb temperature
below the ambient conditions, making heat transfer more
difficult.
Diverse arrays of potential heating tower configurations were
investigated in terms of cost and benefits to reducing
recirculation. The configuration ultimately selected is designated
the XF400 tower. Figure 2 shows the difference between a

standard cooling tower configuration (F400) and the XF400


configuration in both X-Y and polar coordinates, respectively. The
worst case for a heating tower in standard configuration is
actually at zero wind speed, as the colder than ambient effluent
air tends to fall around the structure to all inlet air faces. The XF
configuration for Freeport LNG removes this condition.
Another important operational consideration is recirculation.
Modern computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software suites can
be utilised to predict the behavior of the effluent air stream and
resulting reduction of inlet air temperatures. The saturated air CFD
modelling is a complex exercise, and most off-the-shelf CFD
packages are only equipped to model dry air or liquid state fluids.
The CFD analysis was performed to predict heat exchanger
recirculation behaviour in a variety of wind conditions. The
orientation of the unit was chosen to minimise the negative
impact of adverse wind conditions during winter months.
The impact of using vertical and horizontal fans in an air
tower was studied using CFD modelling. In the final design
for the Freeport LNG terminal, vertical fans were adopted
after extensive study of local meteorological data, plot plan
and the site location.
Figure 3 shows maps of velocity vector
and surface temperature, which reveal the
impact due to the presence of other
equipment in the plot plan. The interference
from other equipment on the air tower
performance should not be ignored.

All the air-based technologies will have higher operating costs


than the base case. It may, however, be noted that technologies
using fuel gas as the only source are not indicated in Figure 6, as
the operating cost of these technologies is several times that of
the ORV or the air-based technologies. The ambient air vaporiser
technology using LNG directly in the tubes seems to be an
upcoming technology undergoing development for consideration
in future large scale applications. Heating towers are a proven
technology for large scale regasification application and have
lower operating costs than the air fin exchange technology for the
conditions considered in this evaluation.

Conclusion

Once a decision is made to evaluate an air-based technology for


a project, the following specific points require detailed evaluation:
Local meteorological conditions.

Plot area available at the particular site.

Other local conditions, such as other industries located in the


adjacent plot.

Air tower based


technologies

The air tower technology can be used with


the following different vaporiser systems by
circulating the water from the air tower:
ORV.

Figure 3. Velocity vector and surface temperature around the heating tower.

Shell and tube vaporisers (S&TV).

Intermediate fluid vaporisers (IFV).

Other vaporisers, such as Hybrid with


submerged combustion vaporisers
(SCV).
Different vaporiser technologies in
application with the air tower are compared
below. With air-based technologies, the
water is directly taken from the air tower to
the vaporisers and no intermediate fluid is
utilised. In some conditions where the
ambient temperatures are lower (e.g. in
winter) an intermediate fluid can be used so
that both the air tower and the fired heaters
can be used together and independently.
This has to be evaluated based on
site-specific ambient conditions. The typical
meteorological conditions considered for
this evaluation are indicated in Figures 4
and 5.
Figure 6 indicates the comparison of the
air-based technologies for the set of
conditions considered in Figures 4 and 5.
The ORV using seawater option shown
provides the lowest operating cost and is
assumed to be the base case (see Figure 6).

Figure 4. Maximum ambient temperature for evaluation.

Figure 5. Minimum ambient temperature for evaluation.


JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

41

have operating references for large scale


operation at this time.
Other local conditions are also equally
important aside from plot availability to
place the equipment. Factors that may
impact the selection process include the
following:

Local air quality since water condenses


in the air, local air quality is important.
Local air pollutants can get absorbed in
the condensed water.

Figure 6. Comparison of the heating tower based technologies.

Figure 7. Heating tower at the Freeport LNG terminal.


Environmental impact.

Capital cost.

Operational cost.

Local meteorological conditions greatly impact the


selection of air-based technologies. When higher ambient
temperature is anticipated for most of the year, technologies
such as air tower and air fin exchangers are expected to be more
favourable.
For areas with prolonged low ambient temperature, the air
tower and air fin exchangers are less favourable. This is caused by
the reduced temperature approach and higher circulating fluid
rate required. However, consideration should be given to the
maturity of these technologies as they are more advanced and

Cold temperature of the exiting air from


the LNG regasification unit may not be
acceptable to the adjacent plot.

The environmental impact of air-based


technologies needs to be addressed carefully.
The economics of overall NOx and CO2 emissions permitted
at a particular location may drive the selection of the technology.
This may put pressure on the air-based technology to operate for
longer durations during the winter months, thereby more capital
expenditure may be justified.
Utilising air for LNG vaporisation is capital extensive but it
pays back quickly considering the cost of fuel.
In some cases where the emissions are the main factor for the
viability of the terminal, the air-based technologies could provide
very viable alternatives from the onset of the project.
Cold air recirculation, fog and surrounding industry are the
main issues to be resolved with these technologies.

Note

The authors would like to thank Mark W. Mallett (Vice President,


Operations and Engineering, Freeport LNG) and Jim Gentry
(Lead Process Engineer, ConocoPhillips), who have contributed
to the preparation of this article. This article has been revised
and updated from a presentation at the LNG 16 International
Conference, Oran, Algeria, April 2010.

Bibliography
1. Kunxiong, T., and Shiming, D., A Method for evaluating
the heat and mass transfer characteristics in a reversibly
used water cooling tower (RUWCT) for heat recovery,
International Journal of Refrigeration 25 (2002) 552-561.
2. Dendy, T., and Nanda, R., Utilization of Atmospheric Heat
Exchangers in LNG Vaporisation Processes: A Comparison
of Systems and Methods, 2008 AIChE Spring Meeting
(Topic 72f).

Figure 1.

LNG fuel containers


loaded and connected
to the onboard fuel gas
handling system.

FUEL FLEXIBILITY

Jonatan Byggmstar and Sren Karlsson, Wrtsil, Finland,


discuss increasing flexibility in LNG fuel handling.

he option of having LNG as fuel for a variety of


different ship types is already available. Emission
reduction requirements and competitive gas prices
are the main driving forces behind an increasing trend
towards LNG.
While conventional fuel gas handling systems with
stationary tanks are, and will remain, the most popular choice,
they might not be best suited for all ships.
A fuel gas handling system utilising removable LNG fuel
tank containers is an option worth considering in many
different cases. For small and medium sized vessels that do
not require a large LNG capacity, such a solution offers a

viable alternative to conventional stationary LNG tanks. If


LNG bunkering facilities are not available, or if bunkering is
not possible, using LNG as fuel can still be realised by using
LNG fuel tank containers. These containers can be transported
by road to the nearest LNG terminal for refilling, and then
loaded onboard the ship with no bunkering procedures
required at the port.
The LNG container can also be used as a cost-effective
and standardised LNG fuel tank for stationary applications.
The frame standard size dimensions and the modularised
skid-based fuel gas handling system make installation fast
and cost-competitive.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

43

system. The containers, which are


designed to fulfil all marine LNG tank
requirements, are of standard ISO frame
dimensions (20, 40 and 45 ft) and can
be transported by road, rail and sea,
although the maximum gross weight
may vary in different countries for land
transportation.
The fuel tank is an IMO type C pressure
vessel enclosed within an outer tank. Both
the inner and the outer tanks are made of
stainless steel, which means that the outer
enclosure will act as a secondary
Figure 2. LNGPacTM ISO
containment. The LNG fuel tank container
layout arrangement from
is fitted with process equipment, namely
LNG fuel tank containers
the valves and instruments required for
to the GVU-EDTM.
operational and safety purposes.
The LNG fuel tank container is also
fitted with a pressure build-up evaporator
(PBE) for building up and maintaining an
operational pressure of approximately
5 bar in the tank. The pressurised tank is
used instead of having rotating equipment,
such as pumps and/or compressors to
feed the gas to the engines. Having a PBE
on the container makes the LNG fuel tank
containers completely redundant. If, for
some reason, a container is out of service,
another container can be easily taken into
operation.
The connection points are located at
the end of the LNG fuel tank container for
easy and smooth hook-up of the LNG fuel
tank container to the onboard fuel gas
handling system. These connections
Figure 3. Terminal tractor loading LNG fuel tank containers onboard a RoRo ship.
consist of the LNG discharge, the vent
mast connection, heating media
connections, and a connection to the water
spraying system built onto the LNG fuel tank container. For
fuel tanks located above deck, a water spray system is
Wrtsils LNGPac ISO, a fuel gas handling system based
required to cool the LNG tank in case of fire.
on removable LNG fuel tank containers, is a new way of
making LNG fuel available when a stationary tank solution is
not possible. The LNGPac ISO is a fuel gas handling system
based on mobile LNG fuel tank containers. Besides the LNG
The LNG fuel tank containers have to be rigidly fastened and
fuel tank container, the system consists of a docking station
secured to the deck. The fastening and securing system has to
and an evaporator skid installed permanently on the ship.
be designed for the maximum dynamic and static inclinations,
The LNGPac ISO is intended to be installed on an open and
as well as the maximum accelerations of the vessel. A
naturally ventilated deck.
number of feasible solutions exist. On RoRo and RoPax
Tank containers intended for the transportation of
vessels it is possible to use terminal tractors with trailers
cryogenic liquids (e.g. LNG) are an alternative for use as fuel
for loading and unloading the LNG fuel tank containers.
storage tanks onboard LNG-fuelled ships. However, a normal
The containers are located on cassettes and secured by
tank container intended for transporting LNG cannot be used
twistlocks. On board the ship the cassette is secured to
since it does not fulfil all the requirements for marine LNG
the deck, e.g. with twistlocks and lashing as a secondary
fuel tanks. Modifications relating to remote monitoring and
fastening arrangement.
safety systems, IMO type C tank requirements, and leakage
Another possible fastening and securing option is to
and spill protection are items that need to be specifically
directly secure the LNG fuel tank container with twistlocks
considered for marine fuel tanks.
and lashing to the deck. This would be a suitable solution for
container feeders and other vessels where the containers can
be lifted on and off. It is also possible to utilise these
containers as stationary LNG tanks, which are not removed
Removable and transportable LNG fuel tank containers are
frequently for filling. In this case, a bunkering station can be
used as fuel tanks in the LNGPac ISO fuel gas handling

Fuel gas handling system

Fastening and securing

LNG fuel tank containers

44 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

installed to allow the LNG fuel


tank container to be bunkered
directly on the vessel.

Docking station

The docking station is the


module whereby the LNG fuel
tank containers are connected
to the fuel gas handling system
onboard the ship. The number
of LNG fuel tank container slots
in the docking station is defined
according to the required LNG
capacity for the specific vessel.
The engine gas consumption,
sea voyage length, and the
interval between changing the
containers defines the required
number of LNG fuel tank
containers.
Figure 4. Environmentally friendly RoRo vessel sailing on gas.
All the necessary
connections between the LNG
fuel tank container and the fuel
gas handling system are located in the docking station for
fuel gas handling system. Four LNG fuel tank containers,
easy and practical connecting operations. Flexible hoses
the docking station, and the evaporator skid were located
fitted with quick couplings are used to attach the process
on the naturally ventilated aft deck. The LNG fuel tank
connections. The quick couplings have a closing valve in
containers were located on cassettes, and secured with
both coupling units to prevent any leakage when connecting
twistlocks and lashing. A second set of LNG fuel tank
and disconnecting the hoses.
containers would be refilled in advance so as to be ready
The instrument readings and control signals for the
for switching with the empty LNG fuel tank containers
remote controlled valves on the LNG fuel tank container are
when the ship is in port.
connected to a junction box in the docking station. There is a
In the area where the fuel gas handling system was
data connection and a hard wired cable connection for
located, potential existing ventilation inlets and outlets, as
increased safety.
well as the electrical equipment, were modified due to the
hazardous zones around the fuel gas handling system. For
protection of the surrounding ship structures, and for
weather protection of the equipment, the docking station
The LNG is discharged from the fuel tank containers via the
and evaporator skid would be located on drip trays in
docking station to the evaporator skid. The evaporator skid
naturally ventilated shelters. Escape routes were planned
is the module where the LNG is vaporised and heated to the
from all areas, especially from the docking station where the
conditions required by the engine (i.e. 0 - 60C). The master
flexible hose connections to the LNG fuel tank containers
gas fuel valve, which is the last safety related stop valve
were located.
in the gas supply system outside the machinery spaces, is
As part of the study, a comprehensive risk analysis was
installed after the main gas evaporator on the evaporator
performed of the fuel gas handling system. A risk analysis
skid.
is required for a gas-fuelled ship where operational risks
The LNGPac ISO is controlled and monitored by a
and risks associated with physical arrangements are
control and safety system. All modules, including the LNG
indentified and eliminated or mitigated. The major hazard
fuel tank containers, are monitored and controlled by a
for a fuel gas handling system on a ship is LNG leakage,
single dedicated PLC-based automation system.
and the subsequent damage to the vessel. Where LNG
leakages can occur, two important things have to be
incorporated into the design. Firstly, no damage that can
The LNGPac ISO is intended to be located on an open
harm the integrity of the ship can be allowed to happen.
deck where natural ventilation is ensured at all times. Drip
Secondly, there has to be a way to detect and identify the
trays must be installed under the skids, and also under the
leakage in order to stop and limit the leakage and the
hose connections between the LNG fuel tank containers and
consequences. Potential leakage sources were identified
the docking station. This is to prevent possible LNG leaks
for the LNGPac ISO modules and corrective actions were
from damaging the deck beneath the skids.
taken.

Preparation of the gas

Ship arrangement

Design and feasibility study

A design and feasibility study has been conducted


together with Germanischer Lloyd (GL) for the conversion
of a RoRo vessel to gas using the LNGPac ISO as the

Note

This article originally appeared in Wrtsils In Detail


technical journal, Issue No. 2, 2013, pp. 42 - 47.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

45

Figure 1.

Buquebus
Francisco built in
Australia by Incat.

Ivan Bach and Jeremy Barnes, GE Marine, Robert Clifford, Incat, and
Mark Dewey, Revolution Design, Australia, look at the design and operability
of the worlds fastest commercial ship powered by LNG-fuelled gas turbines.

n June 2013, Francisco achieved 58.21 knots making it the fastest


commercial ship in the world. Built by Australian shipyard Incat for
Argentinas Buquebus, this 1516 t displacement catamaran can operate
on LNG or marine gas oil (MGO). The ship is powered by two lightweight
and compact GE LM2500 aeroderivative marine gas turbines. As the worlds
first high-speed ship to use LNG fuels, Francisco ushers in a new era of
eco-sustainability in heavy-duty transportation. Lessons learned through
the design and construction phase of this novel ship will assist owners and
operators who will undoubtedly turn to LNG-powered gas turbines for future
high-speed newbuild projects.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

47

Project specifics

The Buquebus-owned ship services passengers crossing the


River Plate between Argentina and Uruguay. Launched in
2013, Francisco (Incat Hull 069) is the first craft built under
the International Maritime Organizations International Code
of Safety for High-Speed Craft (HSC) to be powered by gas
turbines using LNG as the primary fuel and marine distillate
for standby and ancillary use.
The catamaran design enables the Francisco to carry over
1000 passengers and 150 cars (see Table 1 for a ship
overview).

Design and construction

Incat worked with partner Revolution Design Pty Ltd and


DNV GL to ensure that the design, strength and safety of
Francisco met all customer requirements and those of the
HSC code.
When the design process started in 2010, a high speed
vessel with a gas turbine running on LNG could not be built

Figure 2. GE LM2500 marine gas turbine.


Table 1. Francisco ship overview

Yard number

Hull 069

Designer

Revolution Design Pty Ltd, Tasmania, Australia

Builder

Incat Tasmania Pty Ltd, Tasmania, Australia

Class society

DNV GL

Certification

DNV GL + IAI HSLC R4 CAR FERRY B


GAS-FUELLED EO

Overall length

99 m

Waterline length

90.54 m

Overall beam

26.94 m

Draft (design)

2.98 m

Deadweight

450 t

Speed

51.8 knots at 450 t deadweight, 100 MCR


lightship trial speed: 58 knots at 100% MCR

48 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

and classed by the then-current classification society rules


due to the following two major issues:
A fuel with a flash point lower than 35C was not
permitted (natural gas has a flash point of -180C).

Marine classification rules look closely at storage and


piping of flammable substances, including fuel, especially
when pressurised. Rules become more stringent at a
nominal pressure of 1.8 bar, then again at 10 bar, with
each stage needing progressively heavier materials. The
natural gas supply pressure required for the gas turbine to
make full power is a minimum of 28 bar.

Due to the unique requirements of Hull 069 (including


dual fuel operation), DNV GL rules needed to be reconsidered
to ensure compliance, creating some special issues. DNV GL
requires that any new design has the capability to meet or
exceed more standard designs. This capability can be
demonstrated through comparative analysis.
In the case of Hull 069, DNV GL required safety to be at
least equivalent to a ship powered by diesel engines and
fuelled with MGO. This requirement set off a number of
analytical tasks including a formal safety assessment where a
panel of qualified personnel worked through each ship
system to anticipate potential safety issues and address them
during the detailed design stage. This process included
Hazard Identification Study (HAZID) and Hazard & Operability
Studies (HAZOP) that were in addition to the more common
Cause and Effect and Failure Modes and Effect Analysis
(FMEA).
At the shipyard, Incat faced real challenges in a number of
areas, including the hull side cut out to enable the LNG tank
with a cold box to be fitted. It became apparent early on that
separate design spiral processes were needed to understand
the requirements of the gas systems for the vessel, from
bunkering through to final construction. These design spirals
were not started until both Chart (the LNG tank supplier) and
GE completed their system schematics.
The LNG tank is about twice the size of a conventional
engine room soft patch in the vessel side. Revolution Design
structural engineers factored the increased tank size into the
ship design without causing any other significant
modifications.
The gas piping requirements, including the provision of
ventilated ducts and their welding and fixing, required
months of attention. Few of the activities were different from
processes and criteria that are applied within a standard Incat
Table 2. Francisco LNG tankage

Fuel oil (main storage)

2 x 70 000 litres

Fuel oil (generator header tanks)

2 x 1240 litres

LNG (main storage)

2 x 40 m3

Fresh water

1 x 5000 litres

Black and grey water

1 x 5000 litres

Engine room oily water

2 x 160 litres

Bilge holding

1 x 1000 litres

Aft hydraulic oil

2 x 400 litres

Forward midships hydraulic oil

1 x 200 litres

Small component

BIG IMPACT.
Electrical terminal headers are small, yet safety-critical
components of LNG vessels and terminals. They hermetically
feed electricity and data to submerged LNG pumps, turbine
expanders and compressors. At the same time their quality
and reliabilty is critical to uphold the pressure vessel integrity
and therefore the safety of the entire system.
SCHOTT Eternaloc terminal headers are the safest,
most proven solution available in the market.

Find out more: www.schott.com/lng

vessel. However, the sheer number of systems that required


this level of detail was significantly greater than normal. Thus
this project serves as lessons learned, allowing for easier
planning and design of future LNG-powered commercial
vessels.
Revolution Design faced some known unknowns during
the design phase, such as the gas turbine installation and
systems, gas tank installation and systems, gearbox size and
weight and general LNG issues. The complex integration of
these systems extended the schedule for this new ship
design. In the end, all came together successfully into the gas
control and gas safety systems.

attached fuel and lube oil pumps, a fuel control and speed
governing system, associated inlet and exhaust sections, lube
and scavenge systems, and controls and devices for starting
and monitoring engine operation. Currently there are
1300 LM2500 gas turbines operating worldwide in marine
applications, accumulating 85 million hours (see Table 3 for
LM2500 gas turbine specifications).

LNG fuel

Lightweight design package is based on a high tensile


steel baseplate and aluminium enclosure.

Special consideration was taken during the design and


construction of Francisco to address its unique dual fuel
configuration that, as mentioned above, relies on LNG as the
primary fuel and MGO for standby and ancillary use.
The fuel tanks provide for up to four hours of high speed
operation. The fuel tanks and system were designed for
Buquebus specific route and refuelling requirements. As a
back-up, long range distillate tanks are provided for auxiliary
and delivery voyage use. Table 2 lists the specifications for
the ships LNG tankage.

Gas turbines

Easy to install and maintain, the LM2500 gas turbines feature


a modular design, marine corrosion-resistant materials and
power density: high power in a compact, lightweight unit.
The gas turbine is a simple-cycle, two-shaft, high
performance engine. Derived from GEs CF6 aircraft engine,
the LM2500 consists of a gas generator, a power turbine,

Package

GE took into consideration the operating and design


requirements for Francisco and incorporated the following
features into the LM2500 package design to address its
narrow catamaran hull:

Control system seamlessly switches between LNG and


MGO for continuous dual-fuel operation.

Package and control system meets DNV GL classification


requirements.

Negative ventilation is incorporated to contain any


potential gas leaks within the package.

All connection points, cables and pipes are placed on the


front part of the gas turbine packages to ease installation
in the narrow catamaran hull.

The gas turbines feature a marine air filtration system.

The following three modules are part of the engine room


design:
Enclosure with gas turbine, fuel valves, and filters.

Auxiliary skid with gas turbine lube tank, hydraulic start


system, and coolers for both.
Turbine control features a front panel-mounted human
machine interface.

Pre-wired, pre-piped and factory tested for easy installation,


the LM2500 module weighs 45 500 lbs (20 639 kg). It requires
only 27 x 9 x 10 ft of ship space (8.23 x 2.74 x 3.05 m).

Benefits of gas turbines for LNG ships

Owners and operators can experience a range of advantages


by applying GE LM gas turbines as prime movers aboard
LNG-fuelled ships, including the following:

Figure 3. Francisco during sea trials.


Table 3. GE LM2500 aeroderivative gas turbine specifications

Output

33 600 shaft h.p. (25 060 kW)

Specific fuel consumption 0.373 lb/shaft h.p.


Thermal efficiency

39.3%

Exhaust gas flow

155 lb/sec (70.5 kg/sec)

Exhaust gas temperature

1051F (566C)

Power turbine speed

3600 rpm

Average performance, 60-hertz, 59F, sea level, 60% relative


humidity, no inlet/exhaust losses

50 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Emissions NOx emissions from GE gas turbines are


inherently low compared to traditional diesels. Franciscos
LM2500s are equipped with GEs single annular
combustion system. Adding optional water injection
or dry low emissions (DLE) systems would allow the
LM2500 to meet Tier III IMO/Tier IV US Environmental
Protection Agency NOx requirements today with no
additional exhaust treatment. Additionally, these gas
turbines do not suffer from methane slip.

Fuels flexibility GE gas turbines operate on a variety of


fuels, including MGO, biodiesel, bio-synthetic paraffinic
kerosene blends and natural gas. Fuel flexibility is even
more beneficial today as commercial ship operators adopt
dual-fuel operating scenarios to meet new emissions
regulations.

Reduced maintenance costs even while operating at


full power 100% of the time, combustor and hot section

repair intervals are 25 000 hours when burning


natural gas or regasified LNG fuel.

Increased availability GE gas turbines offer


easy maintenance and scheduled inspections.
When engine overhaul is required, the gas
turbine can be changed-out in as little as
24 hours and replaced with a spare unit.
This ensures the highest quality service and
availability for the ship.

Reliability built incorporating the latest


aircraft engine design technologies, quality
requirements and corrosion resistant materials,
each GE gas turbine provides maximum
reliability and long lasting parts, along with
optimum performance.

GE has delivered more than 90 marine gas


turbines worldwide for commercial projects,
including 17 cruise ships, five high speed yachts and
19 fast ferries. GE engines are the only gas turbines
currently installed on cruise ships.

High-speed record

Francisco achieved its milestone high-speed record


in mid-June 2013, demonstrating 58.1 knots at 100%
maximum continuous rating, operating with one
turbine on LNG and one on MGO. These results
exceeded those achieved during sea trials earlier
in the month when Francisco, with full ballast,
comfortably exceeded 50 knots at full power,
while maintaining a steady 49 knots at 90% power
operating on MGO.
The vessels high speed can be attributed to the
combination of the Incat catamaran design, the use of
strong marine grade aluminium, and the light weight
and high power produced by the two GE LM2500
marine gas turbines driving waterjets. Incat worked
diligently to maximise weight savings in the ships
interior during construction wherever possible.
Previously, the worlds fastest ship Juan Patricio
also built by Incat and delivered in 1996 to
Buquebus recorded a top speed of 53.8 knots; the
ship remains in commercial service. Francisco is the
fourth Incat-built vessel with service speed over
50 knots.

Christening

In October 2013, Argentinian President


Christina Fernandez de Kirchner became the
Godmother to Francisco, named in honour of
the Argentine-born Pope. During the christening
ceremony in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian President
was joined by the President of Uruguay, Jose Mujica,
where both jointly cut the ribbon in front of 1500
invited VIP guests.

Conclusion

As the worlds first high-speed ship to use LNG,


Francisco sets a precedent for future high-speed ships
to be built using reliable gas turbines powered by
LNG.

Safety

ON THE
high

SEAS
52 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Martin Grolms,
Neuman & Esser,
Germany, argues
that compact
reciprocating
compressors will be
crucial to successful
and safe operations
on board Shells
Prelude FLNG.

Figure 1. Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built.
(Source: Shell.)

he traditional procedure used in the LNG industry is to pump gas through


pipelines to an onshore facility for liquefaction before transportation. Such
onshore facilities require long pipelines to the coast and compression
platforms in order to transport the gas over long distances. Moreover, civil
engineering work close to shore, such as dredging and bridge construction, as well
as road construction and the building of warehouses becomes necessary.
This additional work is no longer required with the application of floating (FLNG)
technology. This technology can be used to open up offshore gas fields that were
previously too expensive to explore, due to either long distances to the coast or
small gas fields.
A compact reciprocating compressor will be an essential safety system for
Shells Prelude FLNG the worlds largest FLNG facility. In this application, Lloyds
Registers requirement to use Marine Class 1A is a new challenge for compressor
designers. A compressor that is installed on a floating facility must withstand wind
gust speeds of up to 330 km/h as well as a maximum wave height of 27.5 m.
A Neuman & Esser (NEA) compressor will be used in operations on
Prelude FLNG. The compressor will compress from 8.5 to 89 bar and handle a
volume flow of 380 Nm3/h. The very strict regulations were the main challenge as
the output range of the companys compressor is up to 100 000 Nm3/h suction

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

53

volume and 1000 bar discharge pressure whether the


medium is nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, a heavy hydrocarbon,
or wet gas (where the condensate must be separated).

storage tanks, it will weigh some 600 000 t, six times heavier
than the largest aircraft carrier in the world.

Floating offshore production

The Prelude facility cools natural gas down to -162C, thus


reducing its volume by a factor of 600. Deep-sea freighters
load the LNG as well as other liquid by-products such as
condensate and liquid petroleum gas (LPG) and deliver these
to customers all over the world. Preludes developers have
decided in favour of turbocompressors for the natural gas
manufacturing process. A disadvantage of this compressor
construction type is that it cannot maintain the pressure in
case of stoppages. The NEA dry-running TDS 30 will address
this problem. As a seal gas compressor, it keeps the process
gas compressors dry gas seals pressurised during standstill.
This ensures that the explosive gas cannot escape and thus
prevents the system from depressurising via costly and
polluting flaring.
The TDS 30 is the smallest API 618 machine on the
market. The Prelude reciprocating compressor runs at a rotary
frequency of 420 rpm and has a stroke of 110 mm. Safety is
the top design priority. As such, the maximum output of this
construction size is in excess of 450 kW. The power installed,
however, is only some 63 kW. Therefore, the motor can also
start the fully loaded compressor easily.
A so-called buffer vessel is filled with nitrogen and
connected to the compressors via a seal gas system. If
pressure in the vessel falls below 84 bar, the NEA
reciprocating compressor is activated and compresses the
nitrogen until 89 bar is reached. Thus, the reciprocating
compressor protects the facility in case of failure or
deactivation of the turbocompressors.

The idea of offshore LNG production has been tendered


since the early 1970s. However, Shell only intensified
its research on this highly promising technology in the
mid-1990s. In July 2009, Shell awarded the Technip and
Samsung Heavy Industries Consortium the Engineering,
Procurement, Construction and Installation contract. Even
though the engineers have managed to accommodate all
the components of this facility on an area corresponding
to around one quarter of a traditional onshore facility, the
Prelude FLNG project will be the largest floating facility ever
built. From its bow to the stern, it will have a length of 488 m
and a width of up to 74 m. When fully equipped and with full

Ensuring safety

Adverse conditions

Figure 2. The dry running TDS 30 construction size

reciprocating compressor will provide an essential safety system


onboard Prelude FLNG.

Figure 3. The three-crank reciprocating compressor plays

a critical role: it keeps the turbocompressors dry gas seals


pressurised during process shut down and thus avoids costly
flaring.

54 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Moving LNG production offshore has a number of demanding


requirements. The environment is damp and saline, and thus
very corrosive. Moreover, the location of Prelude (north-west
of Australia and close to Timor) is tropical and always around
30C ideal conditions for rust formation.
Prelude FLNG will be moored at one location and will
remain there for approximately 25 years before it has to dock
for inspection and maintenance work. Following this, it will be
able to return to service for a further 25 years. This should not
be a problem for the TDS 30. NEAs compressors are sturdy
constructions and provide optimal performance even in the
most adverse conditions.
During operation, the movement of the waves is a great
challenge. In order to find solutions that counter the effects of
wave movement and the elements, the companys
compressors are designed to adapt to the specific
requirements of the facility.
The use of compressors on a ship has considerable effects
on the piston and piston rod seals. As opposed to the regular
vertical compressors, they must withstand considerably more
horizontal force because the ship is constantly moving. A total
of seven plain bearings with pressure feed lubrication guide the
forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods.

Requirements

Lloyds Registers Rules for Floating Installations provide highly


demanding criteria. Therefore, the compressor systems base
frame is placed on a three point mounting system. In order to

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within the smallest of constructional


spaces without having to disassemble the
other elements such as pipework or
engines. Therefore, only a vertical
compressor was viable. NEA designed the
compressor system so that both regular
access during its operation and servicing
are possible under normal, emergency and
adverse weather conditions. The NEA seal
gas compressor will help ensure the safety
of Prelude, even in the event of the
strongest of typhoons.

Figure 4. NEA compressors are robust and provide optimal performance even in
adverse conditions. The journal orbit of the bearings is determined in order to avoid
damages. The graph shows the smallest lubricating film thickness, maximum oil
pressure and friction power.

guarantee a sufficient oil supply at all times, NEA has


used dry sump lubrication as used for motor sports.
The separate lubrication oil tank ensures the constant
supply of lubricating oil for all sea conditions and ship
movements.
Despite the huge dimensions of Prelude, the Technip
and Shell engineers had to plan using as little space as
possible. One special task in this connection was to
enable suitable accessibility to the compressor system

Compliance

Marine Class 1A certification states that


Neuman & Esser can only use suppliers
approved by Lloyds Register. The highest
possible Marine Class 1A additionally
entails highly complex documentation. The quality and
testing requirements are extremely demanding as is the
testing work for materials and drawings, as well as for
packaging. In addition to the 200 specifications covering
over 14 000 pages, the NEA system must also adhere
to the comprehensive MESC (Material and Equipment
Standards and Code) criteria from Shell. The substantial
database regulates and standardises the application and
handling of the materials used.

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Sealing solutions
Daniel Goebel, Dieter Klusch
and Francesco Grillo,
EagleBurgmann, recommend
the use of dry gas seals for
LNG compressors.

ith the discoveries of large new natural gas deposits,


including shale formations, competition is intensifying
for LNG supply contracts, making it imperative that
LNG operators achieve the lowest possible delivered costs by
optimising reliability and attaining larger economies of scale.
Technological progress is supporting the pursuit of these goals;
both producers and shippers can rely on a new generation of
extremely reliable centrifugal compressors, typically equipped
with mechanical dry gas seals (DGS) developed and sized
specifically for refrigerant and boil-off compressors used in the
LNG sector.
Compressors and seals are an integral part of all processes
used to transform natural gas into LNG. Cooling gas below the
dew point in the range of -160C (-256F) at ambient conditions is
typically done stepwise in heat exchangers employing
refrigerants (usually methane, ethane and propane).
The cooling media are compressed and then expanded to
progressively cool down the natural gas. Compressors circulate
the refrigerants. The latest generation of LNG vessels have
reliquefaction units on board to decrease LNG losses from liquid
returning to a gaseous state during transportation. These
reliquefaction units generally use centrifugal geared compressors,
combined with the expansion turbine.
At onshore terminals, new, ultra-large capacity processing
equipment is being used to increase production rates and reduce

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

57

the percentage of natural gas diverted to power the


liquefaction process. Compressors as large as 120 t have
been developed. That, in turn, required the development of
a 390 mm (15.35 in.) gas seal to accommodate an increase
in maximum compressor shaft sizes from 330 to 350 mm
(12.99 to 13.78 in.).
Good shaft sealing technology is critical to compressor
efficiency and reliability. Without a highly effective and
consistently reliable shaft seal, the compressor would lose
efficiency and, in the worst case, suffer unscheduled
shutdowns at great economic cost. That makes the choice
of seals a key part of the total capital investment decision.
EagleBurgmanns design verification and testing, as
well as continuous product upgrading and operating range
extensions, have resulted in these ultra-large seals being
certified for LNG operations by major compressor
manufacturers.

Dry gas seals

DGS, also known as gas-lubricated mechanical seals, are


an excellent solution for LNG compressors in onshore and
offshore applications because of their ability to reduce
power dissipation and leakage at shaft ends. They can
help to simplify the seal control panel and make it more
reliable. In a high performance DGS, the two sliding
surfaces run one on top of the other, separated by a film
or cushion of gas that guarantees contactless running
at speeds up to 20 000 rpm. The narrow, stable sealing
gap results in relatively low gas leakage around the

Figure 1. EagleBurgmann DGS.

compressor shaft and ensures that the seal works without


wear and with relatively low power input.
While these seals may have some general
characteristics in common regardless of the manufacturer,
a great deal of proprietary knowledge and expertise goes
into the design, choice of materials, and testing and
manufacturing of the latest certified LNG seals.
One cannot take a DGS used in everyday industry and
simply upsize it for LNG compressors. The design and
materials selection has to anticipate all operating
conditions to which the seal will be exposed. Likewise, the
testing and manufacturing is extremely demanding and
critical to safety and reliable performance during extended
operations.
As a rule of thumb, a seal should not require
maintenance. It is common practice to replace them at
scheduled overhauls of the compressor, the timing of
which is left to the operators discretion, but typically
occurs at five-year intervals.

Onshore and offshore

The major challenges for designing LNG seals are as


follows:

Selecting the best materials for very low temperatures.

Accounting for temperature fluctuation on sealing


materials with different thermal expansion coefficients.

Ensuring safety and reliability in all operating


conditions.

LNG seals are typically designed to function reliably in


temperatures ranging from -170C up to 230C (-274F to
382F). DGSs used in onshore liquefaction are normally
operated in the range of 40C (104F). Their low
temperature tolerance is required only for special operating
conditions. In LNG terminals, the 390 mm seals installed
on the new ultra-large horizontal split barrel type
compressors have an outer diameter of up to 550 mm and
fit a shaft diameter of 350 mm. For this product,
EagleBurgmann employed a safety-critical DGS design
using two single seals in tandem arrangement a primary
and secondary with a labyrinth in between to ensure zero
natural gas leakage to the atmosphere where it could
ignite. The secondary seal is capable of operating under
the same conditions as the primary. To avoid any oil
immigration from the bearing into the seal, a carbon ring
seal as oil separation was selected.

Typical operating parameters

390 mm terminal seals.

Shaft diameter: 350 mm (13.78 in.).

Sealed gases: N2, CH4, C2H6, C3H8.

Sealing pressure: 4 - 24 barg (58 - 348 psig).

Normal operating temperature: 30C - 50C


(86F - 122F).

Figure 2. Cryogenic testing in EagleBurgmanns test facilities.

58 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Minimum gas inlet temperature: -100C (-148F).

Speed: approximately 3000 rpm.

Typical seal design data

Pressure: 50 barg (725 psig).

Temperature: -110C - 230C (-166F - 446F).

The smaller compressor/expander plants installed on


board LNG vessels typically employ geared-type
compressors. The seals used in the compressor stages are
subjected to moderate temperatures and do not require
special materials, but must be capable of withstanding
other operating stresses such as vibration and rough seas.
Furthermore, the overhang design of the compressor
requires the DGSs to be as short as possible, so a design
employing a single seal plus an oil separation seal is used.
Expander stage seals present the bigger challenge in
sealing gases at extreme low temperatures. The seals
used on the expansion turbines are exposed to extreme
cold down to -135C (-211F) in regular operation.
Nitrogen is usually the process gas used in the secondary
cooling cycle. For these DGSs, EagleBurgmann selected
special metal materials and elastomer-free secondary
sealing elements. The DGSs for LNG reliquefaction
compressors/expanders were designed for the conditions
described below.

Compressor stages
LNG vessels

Materials selection criteria


for low temperature
operations

EagleBurgmanns LNG selection criteria for low


temperatures for all metal parts and secondary sealing
elements ensures a reliable, long-term operation and
good material properties in temperatures as low as -196C
(-320F). All secondary sealing elements are made of
polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) with special filler material
to withstand low temperatures.
For the primary sealing elements, the rotating seat and
stationary face employ the companys standard solution
used since 1992: silicon carbide against silicon carbide.
These faces are especially large in a 390 mm seal, so
compensating for temperature deformation is important.
Figure 1 shows the seal core. The rotating seat is turning
together with the compressor shaft while the ceramic
stationary face is fixed by torque pins to the metal housing.
The balance sleeve is shrink-fitted to the housing.
EagleBurgmann uses tungsten carbide for both the balance
sleeve and supporting ring for the sealing element,
preferring it for low temperature coefficient and because,
when polished, tungsten carbide gives a high quality,
smooth surface.

Typical operating conditions

Shaft diameter: approximately 50 - 70 mm


(1.97 in. - 2.76 in.).

Sealed gases: N2.

Sealing pressure: 10 - 52 barg (145 - 754 psig).

Normal operating temperature: 40C - 50C


(104F - 122F).

Speed: approximately 20 000 rpm.

Typical seal design data

Pressure: 50 barg (725 psig).

Temperature: -29C - 125C (-20F - 257F).

Expander stage LNG vessels

Figure 3. An EagleBurgmann 390 mm seal during preparation


for shipment.

Typical operating conditions

Shaft diameter: approximately 50 - 70 mm


(1.97 in. - 2.76 in.).

Sealed gases: N2.

Sealing pressure: 10 - 52 barg (145 - 754 psig).

Normal operating temperature: -135C (-211F).

Speed: approximately 20 000 rpm.

Typical seal design data

Pressure: 52 barg (754 psig).

Temperature: -196C - 230C (-320F - 446F).

Figure 4. Typical LNG vessel with reliquefaction unit.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

59

The stationary face must be sealed reliably against the


balance sleeve to avoid any leakage bypass and its face
must move axially to compensate for any shaft
movements. During extreme temperature fluctuation, the
gap will vary dramatically. If it is too large, good sealing
function is not ensured, and if it gets too small, or even
disappears, it loses axial flexibility. This required special
attention to cope with the temperature extremes and the
-135C (-211F) standard operating temperatures for
expander seals. This specific design of the polymer cup
seals ensures minimum sliding forces combined with
wear-free operation.

Optimising seal performance

Proper tapering of the seal face is another critical part of


designing a DGS for extreme temperatures. It begins with
predicting the seal face deformation. The EagleBurgmann
solution is to size the seal face taper at room temperature
for optimal geometry under ordinary operating conditions,
applying the companys validated calculation codes and
experience to get the optimum result for extreme heat
or cold temperatures, then fine-tuning the result through
extensive testing.
The rotating seat of a DGS compressor seal is grooved
to ensure that the gas separation film forms and stabilises
during dynamic operation, including compressor start-ups
and coast down. These proven 3D grooves ensure optimal
pressurisation within the sealing gap (between rotating
seat and stationary face). The companys engineers
simulated operating conditions to generate an optimum
operational sealing gap below 5 m and ensure reliability
of the gap under all operating conditions.

Controlled testing of every


seal type

Every LNG seal type is subjected to rigorous cryogenic


testing under simulated operating conditions at the test
centre. Liquid nitrogen is used to cool down the seals to
-170C (-274F) prior to the dynamic test. The master tests
for each seal also simulate particular operational issues
of LNG compressors that represent major challenges for
dry gas seals, such as the impact of rotor deformation
that might occur in variable or low-speed operations
or compressor coast down from shaft misalignment,
simulated by reproducing a forced plant shutdown more
than 120 times.

Turning requirement

Some equipment used in LNG applications is calling for


turning conditions in order to heat up or cool down the
gas turbine or compressor shaft to avoid deformations.
As DGSs are more effective in lifted off condition extreme
low speeds, in the range of 5 - 40 rpm, this might lead
to contact operation of the seal. To ensure that many
turning cycles over the compressor service time can be
covered, the industry asks for up to 1000 hours proven
reliable operation even in turning (contact) conditions.
EagleBurgmann completed this challenge and its seals

60 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

have proven reliable even after 2000 hours in contact at


7 rpm.
All intermediate tests, as well as the final dynamic test
run, showed that the seal performed as designed for.
Furthermore, all intermediate and final measurements
of the sliding faces indicated that all sliding parts (seats
and seal faces) were in good working condition. The sliding
faces of both seats (inboard and outboard) showed no
wear at the end of the testing process; only smooth
polished areas were visible.
The hardness of a diamond coating (EagleBurgmann
DiamondFaces) on top of proven seal face materials lead
to no wear. Therefore, cleaning procedures were not
required after the turning took place. In addition, by having
wear-free seal faces, the aerodynamic seal performance
and axial movability remained unscathed. The reliability
and robustness of DiamondFaces in combination with
proven seal materials meets specific LNG industry needs.

Manufacturing considerations
Very large seals are the most challenging to manufacture
because the geometrical tolerances must be the same
as for smaller seals. Geometrical tolerances such as the
flatness imposed on seal faces have little to do with the
size of the seal.

Field experience

EagleBurgmann has a long history in low temperature


sealing solutions. It delivered the first seals for on-board
reliquefaction and small scale LNG plants 13 years ago.
In 2005, the company developed 390 mm cryogenic
seals for onshore LNG operations for one of the worlds
leading compressor manufacturers. As a result of that
success, that OEM commissioned the company to
develop a version of the same 390 mm design for a high
temperature environment a furnace gas recompression
train in a new cogeneration plant at a major steel mill in
Wuhan, China. The 390 mm seal underwent further
testing up to a +250C (+482F) bulk seal temperature.
With the design robustness and sophisticated gap
control solutions, no significant design modifications for
high heat were necessary. These seals have been in
continuous service since the cogeneration plant started
up in 2009.
The feedback from the compressor OEM has been very
positive, a testament to the versatility of the original
design to adapt to all temperature extremes and
fluctuations. The result is a new generation of dry gas seals
built to a high standard of safety and efficiency on which
LNG operators can rely.

Bibliography

Meher-Homji, C. B.; Matthews, T.; Pelagotti, A.; and


Weyermann, H. P., 36th Turbomachinery Symposium:
Gas turbines and turbo compressors for LNG service,
2007.
Shukri, T., LNG technology selection, Hydrocarbon
Engineering, February 2004, pp. 71 - 74.

IMPELLER

insight

Mantosh Bhattacharya,
Petrofac, UAE, looks at
centrifugal compressor
impellers used in the
LNG industry.

he performance of a centrifugal compressor


is mainly based on its thermodynamic and
aerodynamic design in which impellers play a
vital role. The proper design and selection of impellers is
imperative for stable operation and reduction in energy
consumption. These aspects are usually left to the
centrifugal compressors original equipment manufacturer
(OEM). This article gives an insight into impeller sizing
estimation and design methodology adopted by OEMs and
performance validation, which can be determined through
various tests. Shrouded impellers are the most commonly
used centrifugal compressors in the LNG industry.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

61

Notes on estimation

There are several ways of estimating the productivity/


reliability of a compressor, using either the N method or
the Molier diagram as a tool. While selecting the number
of impeller stages, it is common to divide the overall
calculated polytrophic head and/or change in enthalpy
by calculating the head developed by each stage using a
fixed value, as suggested in some estimation handbooks.1
As the molecular weight varies from gas to gas, stage
head also varies, hence due deliberation is required to fix
a stage head to estimate the number of stages required.
To determine the number of process stages, the discharge
temperature is finalised to avoid polymerisation, and
the Nelson-Obert charts or relevant equations of states
are used to determine compressibility for inter-stage
calculations. Once impeller stages are estimated by
iteration, the impellers rpm can be discovered.
Estimation of impeller rpm must consider the Mach
number and Stress limitations. Higher molecular weight
gases exhibit a higher Mach number compared to medium
density gases. A larger than required impeller leads to a
bigger gas path (diffuser, return channels), exorbitantly
higher shaft diameter, bigger radial and thrust bearings,
higher lubrication oil demand, and bigger machine

footprint. An impeller that is smaller than the required


diameter would require a gearbox with a high pitch line
velocity, which will result in an overstressed impeller.
Therefore, a trade-off should be made between the
impellers rpm and its diameter. This is applicable to
impellers for centrifugal compressors in any service.
In the case of process requirements where suction flow
is too large and even a bigger impeller cannot meet the
flow demand, double suction impellers are used and each
portion of flow is divided into further stage single flow
impellers. Utmost care must be taken while designing
double flow impellers, particularly for flow pulsation, due
to vane arrangement. This requirement is usually
encountered in mixed refrigerant compressors.
During the estimation stage, a positive margin of 1.5%
over the desired efficiency can be taken if the compressor
is handling a gas of high molecular weight.
Before striking a trade-off deal in sizing and selection,
the following points should be considered:
The high flow coefficient impeller should give higher
polytrophic efficiency.

Smaller diameter casing results in smaller footprint.

Check if the rotor stiffness ratio is being compromised


due to the larger axial length for high flow coefficient
impellers.2

Basic mathematical
relationships in estimation

Figure 1. A high flow impeller (left: side view, right: front

view).

Figure 2. Impeller characteristics (efficiency, flow coefficients


and parasitic losses).

62 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Head developed by each impeller (in metres) = x U2/g,


where U is the peripheral speed of the impeller in m/s, g is
9.8 m/sec2 and is a dimensionless parameter known as
the stage head coefficient or pressure coefficient.
The head coefficient is dependant on the impeller
design, having a range of values between 0.48 - 0.65. The
average value is normally taken as 0.55 (at the best
efficiency point). This value covers all the losses, such as
parasitic loss, disc friction, skin friction, diffuser losses, etc.
The flow coefficient is a dimensionless parameter
described relationship of the suction gas flow rate to the
impeller diameter and tip speed. = Q/(3.1416 x D2/4 x U),
where Q is the suction gas flow (m3/s).
The value of flow coefficient ranges from 0.08 to 0.14
for a 3D impeller used in the LNG industry. To estimate the
flow coefficient of the next stages, the volume flow factor
is multiplied with first stage flow coefficient.
The curve of vs. is equivalent to the capacity-head
curve and is characterised by the impeller design and
shape and is valid for different inlet gas conditions and
speed.
Polytrophic head coefficient = x , where is
polytrophic efficiency and is work coefficient.
The work coefficient is a function of the blade exit
angle and exit flow coefficient.
Slip factor is correlated with the exit flow coefficient
and exit angle of the impeller. Slip factor dictates the value
of the actual tangential component of exit velocity vs.
theoretical component. Therefore, polytrophic head
becomes directly as Hp = , U2/g or . . U2 /g., which is
an indication of how the number of blades and the exit
angle influence the polytropic head/efficiency.

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Production

Generic representation of the degree of reaction of an


impeller stage is shown as R imp = 2 + cot 2/4, which is a
major contributor for efficiency while a vane less diffuser is
considered. Compressor OEMs use the degree of reaction
as a function of flow coefficient and work coefficient.
The work input coefficient = the head coefficient/
polytrophic efficiency of the impeller stage. This is further
simplified as the ratio of the tangential component of the
exit and impeller tip velocity. The tangential component of
the exit velocity further depends on the impeller slip factor
that is a function of the geometric vane exit angle and the
number of vanes the impeller has. Some rules of thumb are
generally used to fix hub to tip ratio. Eye diameter should
be based on the flow required with a flow coefficient
finalised.
This shows that a higher exit angle increases the stage
efficiency but lowers the polytrophic head of a particular
stage, hence a trade-off is made by the designer. LNG
compressors often use shrouded 3D impellers with a high
value of flow coefficient in a tune of 0.12 and wider eye
opening. To have higher efficiencies the blade length has to
be longer with blade leading edge adjustment. To increase
the flow capability, eye opening is enhanced with a larger
axial length.
Backward curved blades have a low diffuser inlet Mach
number and a wide surge margin. A less curved meridonial
profile of an impeller provides a higher efficiency and wider
range. This is expressed as Ax x D2 constant, where Ax is
the axial length of the impeller (heel to toe) and D2 is the
impeller tip diameter.

OEM design concepts

The design process of impellers usually involves the 1D


Bulk Meridonial method, which is the most common
approach. This starts with the classical way of formulating
velocity triangles, Bernoulli and Eulers equations for turbo
machines and other formulas of classical physics.

Figure 3. Impeller hub to tip ratio vs. flow coefficient.

In 2D method streamline, the curvature method is


applied based on various profiles, which gives a better
insight to actual performance in terms of aerodynamics.
3D method applies well-established computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) codes and Reynoldss Averaged Navier
Stokes (RANS) solutions to correctly optimise the
geometry in terms of blade loading, frictions and
stresses.

Computational software tools


used by OEM

1D Meridional flow calculation methods:


Meridional - solver.

Meridional primitive variables solver.


Meridional viscous methods.

Blade-to-blade flow calculation methods:


Explicit time-marching.
Pressure correction.

Initial 1D optimisation, Meridonial calculations:


Specify rpm.

Specify main dimension (exit diameter, back sweep,


etc).

2D method (Quasi-3D design):


Specify blade shape.

Impose manufacturing/structural restrictions (often


ruled surfaces).
Specify channel shape.

Design diffuser for optimum deceleration.

Full 3D calculations:

Aerodynamic behavior.
Structural analysis.

The design steps quoted above are then validated by a


model test and later scaled to form a family of impeller,
which further constitutes the modular design
concept. This approach is constantly upgraded by
continuous R&D activity in terms of increased
rpm, efficiency and wider operating margins.
Model tests are conducted in the design
stage of a new impeller in a scaled down
compressor stage before the actual
manufacturing of impellers is started. These
types of tests are conducted mostly on critical
compressors for LNG services, which have side
stream, high Mach number stages.
A centrifugal compressor OEM generally
relies heavily on standardisation and modular
design concepts to predict the performance of
gas path. The modular stage is defined by Bezier
curves and continuity equations to finalise the
full-scale gas path curvature.

Table 1. Validation of FEA study of impellers


Measurements

FE calculations

Natural frequency (Hz)

64 LNGINDUSTRY

Nodal diameters

JUNE 2014

Damping (%)

Natural frequency (Hz)

Difference %
Nodal diameters

Natural frequency (Hz)

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individual Singh Advance Frequency Evaluation


(SAFE) diagram should be drawn for all impellers
based on nodal diameters. The selection of the
nodal diameter should be based on how many
vanes the impeller has.

Post design validation


tests to detect/mitigate
possible source of
failures

Figure 4. Meridonial velocity profile of an overloaded impeller.

Aerodynamics and structural


resonance

For LNG services, the Mach number is often a minimum of


0.80 - 0.85. The number of blades are optimised to avoid
higher frictional losses. Utmost care must be taken to mitigate
aerodynamic stage mismatch.
Resonant vibration of an impeller leads to its sudden failure,
due to low/high cycle fatigue. Compressors handling heavier
gases, such as mixed refrigerants, propane, etc. must be dealt
with carefully with consideration of virtual mass and damping.
In the case of high molecular gases, operation in choke can
cause the leading edge fracture of impellers. When designing
an impeller for centrifugal compressors, it is important to
accurately predict the natural frequencies in order to avoid
resonance caused by pressure fluctuations due to the impellerdiffuser-IGV interaction. However, the natural frequencies of an
impeller change under high-density fluid conditions. In order to
predict the natural frequencies of centrifugal compressor
impellers, the influence of the gas must be considered. In the
case of high molecular weight gas, operation in choke can cause
leading edge fracture of impellers.
A quick first hand estimation calculation for stress can be
carried out as follows: = {(U2)^2 x }/C 2, where U2 is the
tip speed of the impeller that should be 115% of the maximum
continuous speed of the impeller, is the density of material
and C is the constant based on the type of impeller. For 3D
impellers, C can be taken as 1.35 million. The combined stress
should not exceed 70% of yield stress (0.2% proof stress)
of the material.
Finite element analysis is carried out for all impellers,
particularly for LNG services with a model for static analysis
and with maximum interference and impeller over speed,
rotor over speed and maximum operating speed.
Dynamic analysis should cover modal behavior of
impellers with aerodynamic forces, inlet guide vanes (IGV)
and vaned diffuser interaction with rotating impellers. An

66 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Modal tests are performed by mounting the


impeller on extremely soft suspension and then
using a calibrated hammer to obtain a frequency
response. This shows that the impellers resonant
frequency is away from operating frequency and
multiples. The result of the test should fine-tune
the finite element model based on a comparison
table (see Table 1).
Apart from the conventional compressor rotor
spin test, a full load full speed and ASME PTC -10
type 1 test should be conducted to check if the
rotor has any aerodynamic instability.
A thorough investigation of vibration
amplitudes of non-synchronous and
sub-synchronous frequencies should be be carried
out during the test. Non-synchronous vibration impulses may
be reported during shop test, which can be detrimental in the
field. A generic limit can be fixed to mitigate this issue during
vendor shop tests:
A (Non syn) ( MILS pk pk ) 0.4 x (12 000/ N) where
N is maximum continuous speed.

Detection of stall

The vibrations generated due to the impeller rotating stall


at sub-synchronous frequency are found at 75 - 85% of
operating frequency, whereas vibration generated due to the
diffuser stall are at 15 - 30% of operating frequencies. If such
trends are found during the test, a detailed CFD analysis of
gas flow paths should be carried out to identify the location,
and remedial action must be taken.
Experimental forced response functional analysis should
be performed to identify mistuned impellers and to avoid
catastrophic damage during operation.
Continuous R&D has been taking place in software and
model testing by compressor OEMs. There are numerous
software packages and codes available that can be purchased
and learned through classroom training programmes.

References
1. Brown, R., Compressor Selection and Sizing,
3rd edition, Gulf Publishing Company, 2004.
2. Ludtke, K. Process Centrifugal Compressor, Springer,
2004.

Bibliography

Sulivan, W., Nodal Diameters and the Interference


Diagram, Vol. 5 issue 1, Finish Line, January-March
2009.

Wang, Q., A practical Method to Identify the Potential


Resonance of Centrifugal Compressor Impellers,
17th International Modal Analysis Conference, 1999.

Speed

control

Steve Rush, Nikkiso Cryo, Inc., USA,


argues that cryogenic submerged
motor pumps offer high speed designs
and variable speed control advantages.

s owners/operators strive for greater flexibility in process plant


designs, and as energy costs and energy efficiency become more
important, equipment suppliers, system designers and operators
will maximise the efficiency of system components and make adjustments
to reduce power.
In designing a pumping system, controllability using variable speed to
adjust pump operation to match system requirements can help greatly in
achieving energy savings (Opex savings).
Increasing rotational speed above normal line frequencies as well as
using higher speed motors (2-pole vs. 4-pole designs) also leads to more
compact and lighter pumps. These smaller units result in smaller
components, fewer impeller stages, lower initial installation costs and
ultimately lower maintenance costs (Capex savings).
While using variable speed with centrifugal pumps is nothing new, the
use of higher speed and variable speed for submerged motor cryogenic
pumps is only now becoming more widespread due to the need to reduce
costs.

Centrifugal pump and system


performance

Fluid flow through a process system can be characterised by a typical


system curve (see Figure 1). This curve represents the required head at
various flow rates to overcome system losses, a combination of the
elevation (static head) and the friction of pipe bends, valves and other

components within the system (note that the static head for
the curve example has been set at zero for simplicity). The
pump curve can be placed on the system curve to show the
desired pump rated conditions for the process with a given
system. The duty point of the pump in a system will typically
be selected at the intersection between the pump curve and
the system curve.
Centrifugal pumps used in cryogenic service are typically
driven using motors operating at line frequencies of 50 or
60 Hz, with 2 and 4 pole motors running at 3600 and
1800 rpm (at 60 Hz) or 3000 and 1500 rpm (at 50 Hz). At
those fixed speeds, the pump will produce a single flow vs.
head curve (see Figure 1). Pumps are selected to have a
rated flow point at which the pump is designed to run near
the best efficiency point (BEP).
If process changes are necessary, the system curve is
typically changed by making adjustments to the control
valve downstream of the pump. These changes move the
flow away from the BEP and increase or decrease the head
from what may be required for the process. In many cases,
a by-pass return flow piping system is installed to be able
to keep the pump closer to its rated operating point or BEP,
particularly when operating at low flow rates. Control
valves with by-pass return piping systems have been used
for many years in pump systems but are inherently
inefficient as the pump power remains the same due to the
combined total flow of the main discharge and by-pass
system.
The traditional methods of adjusting a pumping system
using a control valve and by-pass piping system can be
particularly detrimental in a cryogenic liquefied gas system
where production of excess flow and/or excess head yields

a double Opex penalty; first due to pump power


consumption, and second due to boil-off gas loss or
handling.
An alternative to matching the system curve is to adjust
the diameter of the impeller(s) in the pump. However, it is
not practical to change the impeller diameter when
conditions are expected to vary.

Figure 1. Fixed speed performance.

Figure 2. Variable speed performance.

68 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Variable speed operating


theory

The characteristics of centrifugal pumps follow what are


called affinity laws. These laws describe the change in
performance when the speed or the impeller diameter is
changed, which both have essentially the same effect. This
discussion, for simplicity, will cover changes in speed only
and not impeller diameter. The affinity laws can be used
to predict a pumps performance when speed is changed
and energy savings can then be calculated accordingly. If a
pump is being operated well above process requirements,
energy savings can be achieved by using a variable speed
drive to better match the system resistance. Throttling the
pump using a valve adds additional resistance to the system
to control the pump and is not as efficient as changing the
speed.
The affinity laws are:
Q2 = (N2 /N1) x Q1
H2 = (N2 /N1)2 x H1
P2 = (N2/N1)3 x P1

Note: subscript 1 indicates exsting conditions, subscript 2


indicates changed conditions.

Put simply, if the speed is doubled, the capacity will


double, the head will increase by a factor of 4, and the
power will increase by a factor of 8. Thus it is clear that
small changes in speed can result in more significant
changes in head and power. Note that the NPSHR will
also increase by a factor of 4, which is compensated for
by the use of specially designed Zero Enabled NPSHR
(ZEN) spiral inducers (a Nikkiso Cryo, Inc. exclusive
design).
The power required at the shaft (motor output) can be
calculated from the formula: (Q x H x Specific Gravity) /
(367 x pump efficiency), where Q = flow [m3/h] and H = head
[m]) (note: With fluids other than water, the fluids specific
gravity affects the power). This formula can also be used to
predict the operating cost. The electric motor driving the
pump also has an efficiency that needs to be considered, so
to determine the operating cost, factor in the motor by:
(pump power) / (efficiency of the motor) = absorbed
input kW.

Variable speed

It is common for pump applications to be over-sized. This is


because process design tolerances are added to allow for
variations in liquid properties, uncertainties in pressure drops
through systems and other conditions in which the system
may operate. In many cases, once plant commissioning
has been completed, the pumps are found to be operating
below their design point due to the tolerances added during
the design stage. If the pumps are installed initially with
a variable frequency drive (VFD), the speed can be turned
down to meet actual process conditions, thus providing
considerable cost savings over a period of time. These
savings can easily offset the initial cost of the VFD. Using
a VFD to adjust the power demand to the operational
conditions is the most effective method of optimising the
process.
Efficiency of pump operation at flow points that are
off-design can be improved by varying the pump speed to a
point on the pump hydraulic curve that is closer to the BEP
for the desired flow. A standard VFD can be used to control
the speed of the submerged induction motors used in
cryogenic pump service.
In Figure 2, the rated operating condition is shown as
well as the change in performance using a VFD. By
reducing speed at the reduced flow, the same pressure can
be maintained, resulting in lower power and higher
efficiency.
Another feature that is enhanced by applying a VFD to
centrifugal pump operation is starting. Starting a pump/
motor with a direct online system produces a high transient
torque, resulting in high loading on bushings and bearings,
as well as high in-rush current. Pump startup using a VFD
results in a much softer start, reducing in-rush current and
mechanical loads on the pump shaft, bearings and other
components.
In actual case studies, the power savings in a cryogenic
loading pump system were reduced by as much as 43% at
lower flow rates using a VFD when compared to throttling
using a control valve and as much as 20% in a high pressure
sendout pump system.

Benefits of applying VFDs in cryogenic pump systems


include the following:

Reduction or elimination of hydraulic water hammer and


electrical starting current, thus reducing capital costs.

Better ability to operate multiple pumps in parallel to


meet process requirements.

In some cases, a VFD driven pump may cover more


than one duty, potentially eliminating the need for two
pumps at different duties.

Ability to adjust the pump system automatically when


piping, valves or other physical changes are made during
debottlenecking or other system changes.

Improved process control resulting in lower operating


costs.

Higher speeds

One of the simplest ways to increase speed is to use a


2-pole motor at normal line frequencies of 50 or 60 Hz
(3000 to 3600 rpm) instead of a 4-pole motor at lower
speed (1500 to 1800 rpm). This method does not require a
VFD. However, while this may help reduce the pump size
and weight, the performance is still restricted to a single
fixed speed and does not allow the same flexibility and
potential cost savings as using a VFD.
One distinct advantage that the pump designer has in
selecting hydraulic combinations for variable speed drives is
to use speeds higher than that of the synchronous line
speed. Higher operating speed can reduce the number of
stages, which results in improved efficiency of

Figure 3. Cargo pump (left) and line packing pump (right).

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

69

approximately 0.5% per stage that is removed. The


improvement in efficiency due to de-staging the pump is
limited to approximately 3 - 4%. This limit is due to the
additional losses incurred by higher recirculation losses due
to the increase in head produced by each stage. Variation in
speed allows the pump design to be optimised by operating
closer to the BEP at each speed and flow point.
For more conventional external motor designs in
cryogenic service, one of the weaknesses is the shaft seal
that is required where the shaft exits the liquid containment
vessel. This seal becomes even more of a concern if higher
speeds are applied, resulting in increased wear and,
ultimately, seal failure. The application of submerged motor
pumps with no shaft seals is therefore ideally suited for
higher speed operation.
Taking advantage of the submerged motor cryogenic
pump design, engineers at Nikkiso Cryo Inc. (NCI) are
designing pumps that are smaller, more compact and able
to operate at higher speed. Pumps have been developed
using a synchronous motor speed of 7200 rpm with a 2-pole
motor driven at 120 Hz with a VFD. High costs have kept
VFDs from extensive use in the past. However, recent
advances in solid state devices have reduced the size and
costs significantly, making VFDs a much more attractive
option with a positive return on investment.
NCI has been supplying its range of high speed,
super-synchronous, submerged motor designs for many
years, servicing various duties in LNG, LPG, ethylene,
propylene and other liquefied gases for onshore and
offshore applications. The companys original technologies
have been adapted well to the harsh operating conditions
associated with offshore floating production facilities.
These technologies have been developed and
successfully validated over several years of proven
operation. The pumps cover LNG/LPG applications such as
primary feed; HP send out; line packing (hi speed) and main
cargo unloading. These products are presently in service or
due to be installed in facilities for ExxonMobil, Excelerate,
Exmar, Hegh LNG, Golar LNG, Shell and Petronas, among
others.
Benefits of applying higher speed to submerged motor
cryogenic pumps include:
Smaller footprint and lighter weight, resulting in lower
capital costs.

Higher efficiency with proven higher reliability under


field operation conditions, thus lower operating costs.

Reduced maintenance costs due to compact size, ease


of handling and fewer parts.

pumps (2370 m), but at a lower flow rate (20 m3/h). The
line packing pumps are a suction pot type mounted on the
bow of the ship along with the HP send-out pumps. The
line packing pump specification presents a challenge for a
centrifugal pump in that the duty requires the combination
of low flow and high head. Traditional centrifugal pump
selection based on a 60 Hz two-pole motor would have led
to a slim, 20-stage, 3.4 m long pump. NCI has specifically
developed a small high pressure (SHP Model) pump for
this application, which takes advantage of higher speed to
reconcile the low flow and high head. The companys line
packing pump uses a VFD driven motor at 120 Hz. This SHP
pump has only eight stages and measures 1.9 m in length.

Cargo pumps

With the construction of the worlds first floating LNG


(FLNG) plants currently under way, the requirements for
this challenging pump application are slightly different from
those for traditional LNG carriers. Since the vessels will
be moored in place almost indefinitely, it was determined
that a retractable (removable) pump design was better
suited. This design can be easily removed for maintenance
when required compared to traditional fixed-mounted
cargo pumps in LNG carriers, which can only be removed
when the tanks are gas-free. While this application does
not use a VFD, the selection of a higher speed pump using
a 2-pole vs. 4-pole motor resulted in some of the same
benefits. If a traditional 4-pole (1800 rpm) pump was used,
a larger, heavier pump would be required. Due to the critical
necessity to reduce space requirements and weight, NCIs
application of a 2-pole (3600 rpm) machine was accepted
and is due to be installed. The company selected a 2-pole
design using hydraulics, which reduce the diameter and
length of the pumps, providing considerable weight savings
as well as increasing topside deck space for access and
handling during maintenance. These pumps are fitted with
the latest generation ZEN spiral inducer for super low tank
pumping operations and compact radial diffuser (CRD)
designs. This new hydraulic combination resulted in a low
0.15 m NPSHR with a pump efficiency of 77%, thus resulting
in significant installation and operating cost savings.

Bibliography

Loughman, D., Seal less, Zero Emission LNG Pump


Solutions, LNG Industry, Nov/Dec 2013, pp. 73 - 80.

Forsha, M. D., and Beale, C. A., Barber Nichols Inc.,


High Speed Design Enhances Pump Performance,
Pumps and Systems.

Rsnen, J-E., and Schreiber, E. W., White paper ABB Marine and Cranes Using Variable Frequency
Drives (VFD) to Save Energy and Reduce Emissions
in Newbuilds and Existing Ships, Energy efficient
Solutions ABB, 24 April 2012.

Loughman, D., Unique Requirements Regarding the


Installation, Operation and Maintenance of Cryogenic
Submerged Motor Pumps, BPMA Pump Users Forum
Managing Lifetime Costs, May 1994.

Lovelady, J., LNG Pump Applications with Variable


Speed Motor Controls, AIChE Spring Meeting,
April 2008.

Wahl, F. A., LNG Pumps for Floating Units,


Proceedings LNG 17, Poster Session, Houston 2013.

Russell, D. P., Evaluating Life Cycle Cost- Life Cycle


Cost Calculator, Lawrence Pumps.

Small size and fewer impeller stages, resulting in lower


material and parts costs.

LNG line packing pumps for


FSRU applications

Line packing pumps are operated during start-up of


the regasification unit on board floating storage and
regasification units (FSRUs) to reduce thermal shock and
water hammer while pressurising the vaporisers and
downstream pipelines. These 200 kW pumps deliver the
same differential head as the main high pressure send-out

70 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Hans E. Kimmel, Ebara


International Corporation,
USA, and Katarzyna
Choast, PGNiGSA,
Poland, describe a method
of producing subcooled
LNG using thermodynamic
evaporation cooling with
nitrogen as the agent.

n 1765 Dr William Cullen, Professor in Chemistry at the


Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, formulated
his theory of heat and combustion. A decade later, he
developed a simple method for producing ice by simply
evaporating the air and water vapour from a tank filled with liquid
water. Today, this refrigeration process is known as vacuum or
evaporation cooling.
Evaporation cooling occurs at the liquid vapour interface. A
liquid to vapour phase change process requires vaporisation heat,
which is extracted from the remaining liquid part. Consequently,
any partial vaporisation of a liquid cools the remaining part of the
liquid. Evaporation cooling is applied in gas liquefaction plants,
particularly for natural gas liquefaction, to reduce the temperature
of the liquefied gas below the condensation temperature. The
equipment necessary to introduce evaporation cooling to the
LNG liquefaction process is a two phase LNG expander.

Design of two phase expanders

The two phase expander design converts the fluids pressure


energy into kinetic energy, then into mechanical shaft power and
finally to electrical energy in a submerged cryogenic induction
electric generator mounted integrally on a common shaft with
the expander. The generator uses insulation systems specifically
developed for cryogenic service, giving the submerged windings
superior dielectric properties and long life. The two phase
expander is able to operate at variable speeds in order to adjust
to the changing mass flows and pressure conditions of the
process.
Lubrication for the bearings is routed via an internal system,
taking a small portion of the inlet liquid. While producing some
inefficiency, this has the advantage of being far simpler than an
external oil lubrication system. There are few connections to the
main process and there is no need for seal gas.

JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

71

The expander consists of an inlet nozzle ring generating


rotational fluid flow, one or more radial inflow reaction turbine
runners, a two phase jet exducer and a condensation cone. The
whole assembly is mounted vertically on a head plate, inside a
non-flammable certified stainless steel vessel. The expander,
manufactured from flammable aluminium, is therefore protected
from mechanical damage and fire since flammable liquids are
being handled.
The vessel is thermally insulated so that it is suitable for
cryogenic temperatures.
The pressurised liquid enters through the horizontal inlet low
in the vessel and flows upwards between the vessel and the
expander, entering the expander nozzle ring and exiting the
expander and vessel at the top through the outlet. The hydraulic
assemblage accomplishes a constantly decreasing pressure, thus
avoiding any cavitation along the whole two phase flow path.
By using a vertical rotational axis, stabilised symmetrical flow
is achieved, minimising flow induced vibrations with the upward
direction of flow. This also takes advantage of the vapour bubble
buoyant forces.

Nitrogen evaporation cooling

If a mixture of LNG and liquid nitrogen is expanded in a two


phase expander, the nitrogen vaporises first due to the lower
boiling temperature. This process is also known as cryogenic
distillation. The boiling temperature at atmospheric pressure is
77.3 K for nitrogen and 111.3 K for LNG. The heat of vaporisation
for nitrogen is 199.3kJ/kg and following the thermodynamics of
evaporation this heat is extracted from the remaining liquid, the
LNG. The heat capacity of LNG is 3.48 kJ/kg K.
If R is the ratio between the total mass of nitrogen and the
total mass of LNG, then the cooling effect of the vaporising

nitrogen reduces the LNG temperature by T for the theoretical


ideal case:
T = R (199.3 kJ/kg) / (3.48 kJ/kg K) = R (57.3 K)
The actual reduction of the temperature is less as an amount
of mixed LNG/nitrogen remains. Vaporisation is dependent upon
the expansion and its pressure drop per second. For a fast
expansion of the LNG/nitrogen mixture, the efficiency of the
cooling effect is approximately 40% and for slow expansion it is
approximately 60%.
Two phase expanders provide a fast expansion in the order
of 50m/s and the efficiency of the evaporation cooling is 40%.
The mass ratio of the nitrogen and LNG is in the region of 25%.
Under these conditions the cooling effect of the system produces
subcooled LNG, 5.7 K below the boiling point.
The expansion of the LNG/nitrogen mixture produces power
when passed across a two phase expander. The relation between
the generated power and the temperature drop is shown in
Figure 1. As expected, the cooling effect on the LNG stream is
directly related to the power output, an increase in the power
production increasing the temperature difference of the
evaporation cooling.

Multistage two phase expanders


The expansion of an LNG/nitrogen mixture initiates at higher
pressures, not just at the saturation pressure. To achieve the
expansion of a higher pressure difference, it is necessary to apply
two or three stage two phase expanders. The inlet nozzle ring
generates rotational fluid flow to the first radial inflow reaction
turbine runner. The flow then goes through the shaped return
bend to the inlet of the following
stage. Additional stages are required
dependent upon the total differential
pressure to be expanded.

Conclusion

The production of subcooled LNG


is achieved by cryogenic distillation
of nitrogen out of the LNG/liquid
nitrogen mixture. The distillation
occurs through pressure drop, and
not by heat. The evaporation of the
nitrogen reduces the temperature of
the remaining LNG. By producing LNG
colder than its boiling temperature,
the undesirable boil-off losses are
significantly reduced or eliminated,
dependent on the downstream
equipment.

Figure 1. Generated power vs. temperature drop.

References
1. Isalski, W. H., Novel Scheme for
Small Scale LNG Production in
Poland, Tractebel Gas Engineering,
Brussels, Belgium, 10th TGE
Symposium, 10 June 2005.

Figure 2. Two phase LNG


expander.

72 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Figure 3. Two phase


expander in its vessel.

Figure 4. Multistage two


phase expander section.

2. Cholast, K., et al., Technology


Assessment for Two-Phase LNG
Expanders Operating for Ten Years
in Gas Liquefaction Process, PGNiG
SA, Poland, GPA Europe 30th
Annual Conference, Edinburgh,
18 - 20 September 2013.

PIPING progress

Developments in cryogenic
pipe technology have
created opportunities
for increased
security and reduced
environmental impact
for LNG installations.
Julian Hepburn,
Eisenbau-Krmer,
Germany, explains how.

he use of nickel enriched steels to provide suitable


toughness and mechanical strength in LNG tank
construction has been well established since
the 1950s. Plate producers have worked closely with
tank constructors to provide shell plates with chemical
and mechanical properties suitable for use at cryogenic
temperatures, as well as dimensions well suited to
economic site construction. However, the availability
of nickel enriched steel pipes has been, at best, limited,
as a result of various technical difficulties in producing
these materials in the kind of quantities pipe mills require.
Nevertheless, the benefits associated with using nickel
steel pipes are well recognised by engineers designing
storage tanks and piping engineers developing LNG
transfer lines on a jetty.
Today, questions are being raised as to how the
environmental impact of LNG terminals can be reduced,
JUNE 2014

LNGINDUSTRY

73

solution would also bring significant


reductions in construction expense.
Although various fabricators have used
both 9 and 36% nickel materials to produce
pipes, this has been carried out as part of
general fabrication activity, the materials not
being produced in larger quantities by pipe
mills. There are several reasons for this. A
key area of difficulty for a pipe mill was the
lack of suitable welding technology to allow
both the impact toughness and tensile
strength of the weld metal to at least match
that of the parent pipe while achieving
welding speeds and deposition rates suitable
to pipe mill production volumes. Other areas
of difficulty included dealing with the effect
of inherent magnetism created during the
pipe making process and how to perform
heat treatment on thin wall pipes without
partial collapse and loss of shape.

Research and
development

Figure 1. Impanded Pipe.

It is important to place emphasis on R&D to


advance steel pipe production technology.
Involvement with steels suitable for low
temperature application started in the 1970s
with carbon steel linepipe for the offshore
oil and gas industry. Further developments
resulted in 3.5% nickel steel pipes becoming
available, generating interest from the
market to further increase the nickel content
in pipes to a level that would be suitable for
transmission of LNG. On this basis, in 2005,
Eisenbau-Krmer (EBK) embarked upon an
extensive R&D programme initially focused
on overcoming the difficulties associated
with the production of 9% nickel steel
pipes. This was later extended to include a similar R&D
programme for 36% nickel materials.
Using a combination of leading edge computer
simulations of welding processes including solidification,
as well as practical development of these processes in
the laboratory and then the factory, the R&D programme
identified several unique welding processes that enabled
EBK to produce pipes that achieved the following
objectives:
Overmatching mechanical values in both longitudinal
and circumferential weld (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. For bending of plates, EBK mainly uses the JCO press
bending process.

especially those requiring a lengthy jetty to reach suitable


deep water to berth an LNG carrier, and then how to
protect such a jetty against possible terrorist attacks.
These questions have focused engineering minds on a
further application for nickel enriched steel pipes, which
would help solve both issues, namely, to remove the jetty
altogether and replace it with a sub-sea cryogenic line,
brought up by a riser system to a vessel mooring (see
Figure 1). Initial costing estimates demonstrate that such a

74 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

Welding speeds and deposition rates suitable for high


production volumes.

Welding processes suitable for both shop and field


welding.

Heat treatment methods without partial pipe collapse


and shape problems.

Pipes with extremely low levels of residual


magnetism.

Excellent fatigue properties.

Very small tolerances, especially at pipe ends.

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Figure 3. EBK offers different NDE methods like MPI, X-ray or ultrasonic testing.

Reducing
environmental
impact the
construction of a jetty
is often of concern to
environmentalists,
especially in areas
where conservation
of the marine
environment is high
on the agenda.
Indeed, in some
cases, projects
have been unable
to proceed to
construction due to
such environmental
concerns. Discarding
the jetty largely
removes this problem.

Reducing cost cost analysis carried out by at least


one global engineering company found that, despite
the increased cost of the materials used in a subsea
cryogenic transmission line, the savings resulting from not
constructing a jetty reduced the overall project costs by
several tens of millions of US dollars for a typical project.

Nickel pipes

Figure 4. SAW pipes from 12 to 180 in. dia. and up to 10 in.


thick.

The results of the R&D programme were welcomed by


engineering companies designing subsea pipe-in-pipe
LNG solutions (see Figure 3) as it became clear that
suitable nickel enriched steel pipes were now available
with production volumes and rates suitable for inclusion
within LNG project schedules. Close technical
collaboration with these engineering companies followed,
along with joint technical presentations to oil and gas
companies. The interest generated from these discussions
lead to EBK manufacturing and supplying both 9 and 36%
nickel pipes for use in cryogenic pipe-in-pipe tests. The
successful results of such tests enabled at least two
engineering companies to achieve Approval in Principle
(AIP) from certification authorities for pipe-in-pipe
cryogenic subsea transmission lines.
These developments are of significance to the LNG
market, as the availability of nickel rich steel pipes for
cryogenic applications, including subsea transmission
lines, simultaneously addresses the following three areas
of concern:
Jetty line security as a subsea cryogenic transmission
line does not require a jetty, there is no security risk
to the jetty from terrorist activity, storm damage or
indeed any other security risk. Consequently, the
integrity and security of supply is greatly increased.

76 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

In addition to the use of nickel rich steel pipes for subsea


applications, tank constructors have been quick to see
the advantages of these materials for use inside the tank.
EBK has already commercially supplied 9% nickel pipes
for use as pump column and stilling wells. The traditional
material selected for such pipes was stainless steel.
However, these materials are highly susceptible to salt
water corrosion and so potable water was required for the
hydrostatic test of the tank. Additionally, the coefficient
of thermal expansion for stainless steel is far greater than
for 9% nickel, preventing the diameter, straightness and
ovality tolerances of the pump columns being reduced
as much as pump manufacturers would like. Both of
these issues are resolved by specifying 9% nickel pipes.
As the nickel rich pipes are not overly susceptible to salt
water corrosion, a tank constructed entirely of 9% nickel,
including the internal pipes, may be hydrostatically tested
with salt water, which is significantly less expensive than
potable water. The reduced CTE value of 9% nickel pipes,
combined with highly advanced production methods at
the EBK pipe mill, enables much tighter tolerances for
straightness, ovality and diameter to be specified and
produced, thereby increasing the efficiency of the pump.

Conclusion

Overall, the commercial availability of nickel enriched


steel pipes for cryogenic applications is a welcome
and significant technological step forward in the LNG
industry, bringing with it many technical and commercial
advantages. The solutions available for on-site welding
and construction processes enable these products to be
considered user-friendly.

Stuart Barry, Bergen Pipe Supports


Group, UK, explains the reality of the
supply and delivery of support systems
throughout the life of a project.

ryogenic supports for LNG projects


are complex, technical engineered
items, each manufactured to maintain
the integrity of the insulation system while
transferring the forces into the supporting
structure. These supports allow thermal
displacement of the pipe while operating in
extremely harsh environments, whether it
is on a liquefaction or regasification plant,
onshore or offshore.

Supporting cryogenic
pipework

Supporting pipework operating at


temperatures lower than -160C in
environments that can range from a desert in
the Middle East, or a tropical coastal region in
Asia to a plant located on a Siberian island is a
complex task. These supports are designed to
transfer the forces, moments and movements
of the plant into and through the supporting
structure while keeping the cold of the pipe
shielded from the external environment. In
tropical climates, or where high humidity is

Figure 1. Cryogenic pipe supports

clearly visible on this LNG receiving plant


in South Wales, UK.

experienced, an LNG pipe acts like a moisture vacuum pulling


moisture from the air and rapidly freezing it around the pipe.
Such low temperatures can cause carbon steels to shatter
like glass under shock loading conditions. If the cold gets into
concrete structures it will cause the concrete to crack and fall
apart as the moisture within freezes and expands. The cryogenic
support is designed not only to maintain the insulation integrity
but also to isolate the support structure from the pipework. The

Figure 2. Inspection of finished supports in Bergens Thai


cryogenic facility.

most commonly used product for cryogenic insulation where


high strength is needed is high density polyurethane foam
(HD PUF).
The use of HD PUF within the support acts as a thermal
break and allows the structure of the hanger to be designed for
ambient temperature conditions. HD PUF is a product intended
for use at cryogenic temperatures though it may be used for
temperatures up to 140C.
From the process engineers perspective, HD PUF is
primarily used to insulate the pipe from the ambient
temperature. However, the plant engineer is looking for isolation
from cold temperatures, minimisation of condensation and the
ability to transfer the pipe load into the supporting structure so
two sets of requirements need to be considered when designing
the support system.
Other products that have greater load carrying capacity can
also be used on cryogenic pipe supports, so where very high
loads are experienced, products such as densified woods or
glass reinforced composites may be used. However, for
cost-effectiveness and reliable performance, HD PUF is the most
widely utilised product.
But it is not simply about the isolation and insulation of the
cold temperature performed by the HD PUF. The design of the
shoe and thrust ring (for line-stops) are also key, along with the
vapour barrier and the protection jacket. Stress calculations for
the pipe, the insulation and the shoe are necessary in addition to
consideration of differential contraction between the pipe and
the insulation.

Supplying an LNG project

Figure 3. A line-stop ready for welding into the pipe system


part of a package supplied to an FSRU project being constructed
in Dubai.

Figure 4. Cryogenic pipe supports ready for packing and


despatch.

78 LNGINDUSTRY

JUNE 2014

However much specialist companies would like the pipe


supports to be a priority in the design criteria (and despite the
fact that early integration of the support design and specification
in the project would save the customer money), the supports
often form part of the last phase of project designs.
The support system requires considerable design and is
largely individually manufactured, often in very large numbers.
Therefore, it is vital that the supports are designed, approved
and manufactured quickly if the project is not to be held up. In
addition, as project designs progress and change, so the need
for revision and additional supports can become urgent,
particularly as the project draws to a close and the tail-end
requirements become critical.
Bergen Pipe Supports Group has developed a two stage
manufacture approach to large LNG projects, with the bulk of the
supports being manufactured at its plant in Thailand. This has
cost benefits to the customer, and the initial tie-in units and tail
end orders are produced more quickly from the UK and now the
companys US plant.
The company, in conjunction with its supply partners, has
developed a unique formulation for its HD PUF product by
allowing insulation materials to be moulded accurately to the
required dimensions in densities ranging from 100 to 500 kg/m3.
The different densities are identified by colour pigmentation.
The blowing agents are both CFC and HCFC free, and thus
are environmentally friendly, and the waste product is
completely inert once it has been cross linked.
With independently obtained mechanical, thermal and
physical test data compliant with ASME/ASTM test methods
and construction complying with CINI specifications, Bergen
Pipe Supports Groups cryogenic supports deliver a quality
assured solution to the most challenging requirements.

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A global solution

The companys manufacturing facilities have the ability to


fabricate the steel parts of cryogenic pipe supports in six factories
on four continents and manufacture polyurethane foam insulation
in Thailand and the US.
Its new Louisiana plant has a production capacity of
10 t/week of HD PUF, while the Thai plant is capable of producing
more than 40 t/week. This latter plant, with its lower costs, can
produce up to 1000 finished cryogenic supports per week and
operates on lead times of eight weeks. With shipping times from
Thailand to the Middle East, Europe and the US being between
four and six weeks, the plant in Louisiana is the ideal location for
items required on a more urgent basis, being only two weeks
from Europe and three weeks from the Middle East by sea.
For projects requiring more urgent deliveries, the heavy steel
parts can be manufactured at any of Bergens six fabrication
facilities and the lighter PUF parts air freighted from the most
appropriate HD PUF plant.
The same chemical formulation, high-pressure foam
moulding machines and processes are used in both locations.

Case studies

When one of the oldest LNG receiving terminals in France


needed to be refurbished, Bergen Pipe Supports Group was
selected to supply the replacement cryogenic supports and
anchors for trains 1 and 3. Design, technical and contractual
meetings were held between the contractor and Bergens UK
technical team while manufacturing was undertaken at the
companys Thai plant. Coordination was handled by the Thai and
UK teams working closely together. Installation supervision was

supplied by placing a resident engineer from the UK at the job


site for six months.
The customer benefited from being able to communicate with
the UK-based team for all its technical, commercial and expediting
requirements, yet it also gained the commercial benefits of having
the product manufactured cost-effectively in Bergens Thai plant.
A similar arrangement was used in the execution of a much
larger project located in the Middle East, where Bergen supplied
over 10 000 individual pipe support cradles, insulation blocks and
vibration isolation pads. The client, located in Japan, benefitted
from the technical and commercial strength of Bergens UK head
office while achieving the economic and logistical benefits from
having the product manufactured in the companys Thai plant.
In both of these projects, specialist components including
low friction sliding bearings and other low temperature materials
not available in South East Asia were supplied from the UK
manufacturing plant directly to the job site.

Conclusion

With LNG plants now being built across the globe and often
in increasingly remote locations, the ability to meet changing
requirements is increasingly becoming an expectation of the
industry.
With the option of cryogenic supports manufacture in the US,
Bergen Pipe Supports can offer a faster and more flexible service
able to respond quickly to changes in its LNG customers
requirements. This is particularly important for customers during
the development and tail end phases of a project where evolving
programming and design modifications can considerably reduce
the delivery times involved.

ADVERTISERS INDEX

ADINDEX

Air Products 21
AVEVA 55
BASF 09
Bronswerk Heat Transfer 02
Cameron OBC
CB&I 07
Chart Energy
And Chemicals Inc. 29
Demaco 37
Dresser-Rand 11
Ebara International Corp. 51
FMC Technologies IFC
Graphite Metallizing Corp. 56
Honeywell OFC & 04

International Registries 38
Kobelco IBC
LNG Industry 56, 65, 75 & 79
MAN Diesel & Turbo 15
Neuman & Esser USA, Inc. 33
Nikkiso Cryo 25
S.A.T.E. 22
Schott 49
Selective Adsorption
Associates Inc. 42
Temati B.V. 30
Watlow 17
Weatherford 63
Yokogawa 65

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