Shell has appointed Norwegian-based Air Products to deliver Nitrogen Membrane Technology for Shell’s prestigious Prelude LNG Project to be launched outside Australia. Earlier this autumn, Air Products also received the order to supply its technology to the majority of all new LNG ships on order.
“Currently, we feel an increasing focus on gas and we are proud to be one of the preferred suppliers in this area, both for shipping companies as well as for the processing industry”, Mr. Tom Cantero, MD Air Products, says.
The sceptical view on nuclear power that has followed the tragic earthquake in Japan earlier this year is one of the reasons for an increasing interest in gas. More than 60 gas tankers are currently on order, leading to the need of large-scale production plants. Shell is taking a lead and shows an innovative and future oriented approach, which has lead to the decision to move storage and processing facilities close to the fields rather than transporting unprocessed gas over large distances. The new huge production facility is to be built into the world’s largest vessel, measuring 488 metres in length and 74 metres in width, displacing some 600,000 tonnes when fully loaded, of which 260,000 tonnes are steel. Gas production is to commence in 2017 and the vessel is expected to stay moored at location for 25 years. Once operational, the Prelude FLNG facility will produce at least 5.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquids: 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate (equivalent to 35,000 bbl/d) and 0.4 mtpa of LPG.
“The order to the Shell Prelude project results from several years of intense development. Air Products invented the technology behind membrane-based nitrogen production and we have expressed a clear ambition to continue leading the market. We are very proud to deliver to the world’s first floating LNG facility and see this as an appreciation of our work, quality and products.” Mr Cantero continues.
Air Products was first to launch compact systems for membrane-based production of nitrogen on ships and offshore installations. Originally, this was used to prevent explosion on board vessels by using nitrogen during loading and unloading LNG, but the systems have proven to be very successful in other areas as well, such as treatment of ballast water, conservation of food during transportation as well as prolonging vessels’ tank systems.
“We look positively on the increasing gas market. We can already see gas becoming the most important alternative to nuclear power, especially in Japan and Germany, as well as being used as fuel for cars and ships. We are committed to do our best in order to give the technology a leap forward.” Tom Cantero finalises.
Offshore Energy Today Staff , November 29, 2011; Image: Air Products