Universal LNG, Sembcorp partner up to turn associated gas into LNG

Universal LNG Holdings Inc. and Sembcorp Marine’s  Jurong Shipyard have entered into a partnership to establish West Africa LNG Development. According to a statement by Universal LNG Holdings, the partnership will set a new, greener standard for global oil production and supply Africa with needed energy resources.

By addressing the offshore associated gas needs of the African continent, West Africa LNG Development will reduce pollution globally and improve lives regionally, the company said in a statement.

“By aligning ourselves with Sembcorp Marine’s global leading GraviFloat technology platform, we will make a difference globally and improve the quality of life for underserved people of the African continent,” said Jeffrey Liu, CEO/Chairman of Universal LNG Holdings, Inc. “We are very proud of our affiliation with Sembcorp Marine and feel they are the right kind of technology partner to make this dream a reality.”

“Africa is thirsty for energy, and the GraviFloat offshore solution brings modularity, scalability and a much more affordable solution for the region,” said William Gu, General Manager of Sembcorp Marine, a an offshore and marine industry specialist from Singapore. “This partnership represents a significant new opportunity for the continent, as Africa will receive the resources it needs to supply electricity and running water to underdeveloped regions.”

Only 30% of Sub-Saharan Africans have access to electricity, and planned and unplanned blackouts are a daily occurrence in West Africa, despite modest electricity usage among its 300 million inhabitants.

The partnership says that its mission is to help supply energy to these millions of people, through deployment of new technology to capture and recycle associated gas, the natural gas byproduct of oil drilling that is typically burned or “flared” at thousands of oil fields around the world.

Every year, around 140 billion cubic meters of associated gas is wastefully flared, resulting in more than 300 million tons of CO2 being emitted to the atmosphere — equivalent to emissions from approximately 77 million cars.

According to the global estimates, if this amount of associated gas were used for power generation, it could provide more electricity (750bn kWh) than is being consumed today on the entire African continent.

World leaders have declared associated gas a vexing environmental and economic problem. In April, the United Nations launched the “Zero Routine Flaring by 2030” initiative. Endorsed by nine countries, 10 oil companies and six development institutions, the initiative commits the oil companies to end the practice of routine gas flaring at oil production sites by 2030.

Those that signed the initiative, collectively, represent more than 40 percent of the entities that flare gas globally.

“While the entire world seems to agree that the practice of flaring must stop, a cost-effective, workable solution has not yet been brought to the global stage,” Liu said. “That’s where West Africa LNG Development comes in.”

Instead of flaring, the partnership’s technology will capture the gas and convert it to clean LNG, which will then supply African nations with much-needed energy resources.

“We can take this harmful byproduct and turn it into good use,” Liu said. “We’re basically the recycler, but instead of creating new plastic or paper goods, we’re improving African lives.”

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