Japanese shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) and fellow engineering firm JGC have developed a new floating liquified natural gas (FLNG) hull concept design that incorporates existing LNG storage tanks and is expected to reduce construction time and cost.
Backed by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the partners have developed a concept that involves transferring and reusing the LNG storage tanks from an older generation of LNG carriers in the hulls of new FLNG facilities. The design has gained approval in principle from the class society, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), as a significant step towards its realisation.
Transferring and reusing the spherical Moss tanks from existing LNG carriers means there is no need to build new storage tanks from expensive cryogenic materials able to withstand temperatures as low as -162°C, reducing the cost of hull construction, JGC said, adding that there is a wider choice of shipbuilding yards able to construct the FLNG hulls faster and cheaper, notably providing a safe and quality option for converted FLNGs for application in the high seas and harsh operating environments.
Currently, FLNG facilities can only be built by a small number of shipbuilders due to the complexity of their construction. The advantages of FLNG units are that they eliminate the costs involved in laying pipelines for transporting gas from the field and can also be redeployed to other offshore gas fields, making them suitable for remote small and midsize subsea gas fields that would not be profitable for a land-based LNG complex. Seven FLNG facilities exist globally, including those in transit and under construction.