Asia Set to be Key Player in FLNG Sector



Oil & Gas IQ
12/07/2009

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This year has seen major developments in floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) projects, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.

ExxonMobil is just one of the companies getting involved FLNG projects and the company's chairman and chief executive Rex Tillerson recently stressed that natural gas was an important part of meeting global energy supply needs in a safe, secure and environmentally responsible way.

"One of the keys to expanding supplies and reducing emissions is by investing in technologies that can bring more natural gas to the Asia-Pacific region," he said.

Natural gas is expected to be the fastest growing major energy source over the coming decades, Tillerson emphasised in his speech to delegates at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit on November 13th.

The fuel will increase globally by more than 50 percent by 2030 and more than 150 percent in the Asia-Pacific region alone, he added.

By that time, it is expected that natural gas will have overtaken coal as the world's second biggest energy resource.

FLNG Growth

Energy business analysts Douglas Westwood recently predicted that FLNG is set for "stellar growth," particularly in Asia.

The firm's research, entitled The World FLNG Market Report 2010-2016, projected that FLNG expenditure will total $23 billion (£13.8 billion) between 2010 and 2016. It forecasted that import terminals will account for a 22 percent share of this investment.

In addition, Douglas-Westwood identified that key service items within the FLNG business include construction and detailed design engineering and project management.

It predicted that $15.6 billion will be spent on construction, while over $3 billion will go towards design engineering and project management.

Focus on Asia

Steve Robertson, director at Douglas-Westwood, speaking after the release of the report in July this year, said that although the last year had been difficult for the sector, companies had continued to work on FLNG technology.

"Any delays in project sanctioning have largely been attributed to the project structures and changes in upstream partners rather than any technology gaps," he explained.

"Southeast Asia will be a key area of focus for the sector and it is clear that there are many players evaluating the technology with an intention to deploy," Robertson continued.

"For some remote stranded gas assets it will be the only technically feasible option, for others there are additional benefits to in terms of better flexibility, reduced lead times and even cost savings," he added.

FLNG Partnerships

ExxonMobil, Qatar Petroleum, Santos, GDF Suez and Shell are just three of the companies to have boosted their activity in the FLNG business this year.

In September, Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corporation announced the completion of Qatargas 2 Train 5, one of the largest operating liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facilities in the world.

"Technological advances pioneered by Qatar Petroleum and ExxonMobil have enabled us to achieve new economies of scale for LNG development using natural gas from Qatar's North Field," said Neil Duffin, president of ExxonMobil Development Company at the time.

Furthermore, Santos and GDF Suez announced in August that they had entered into a strategic partnership, with a major FLNG project forming part of the deal.

Under the terms of the agreement, GDF Suez will lead the development of Bonaparte LNG, a proposed two million tons per annum FLNG project.

"The partnership and Bonaparte basin development is a key priority for GDF Suez globally. By extending our reach to the Asian market, it allows us to offer a truly global LNG marketing platform to our customers," said Gerard Mestrallet, chairman and chief executive of GDF Suez.

Shell has also been working on developing its FLNG technology, signing a deal with a consortium comprising Technip and Samsung in July, which will see the design, construction and installation of multiple FLNG facilities over a period of up to 15 years.