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FLNG: Why Has It Taken Almost 40 Years To Make The Dream A Reality?

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FLNG: Why Has It Taken Almost 40 Years To Make The Dream A Reality?

Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) that is to say water-based liquefied natural gas operations have long been a pipe dream of oil and gas industry engineers. 

According to Norwegian classification society Det Norske Veritas, the first design concept for an FLNG unit was conceived as long ago as 1979, when Kværner and Moss Maritime produced plans for a barge-mounted liquefaction plant for the Kangan gas field in Iran.

Yet 34 years after the conception of this ground-breaking model, we are still just less than half a decade away from the commissioning of the very first FLNG vessel, Shell’s much vaunted Prelude.

Parked 475 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia,Prelude will be five times larger than a Nimitz class aircraft carrier and begin its 25 year mission to produce 3.6 million metric tonnes of LNG per annum.

This flagship project will be judged as the yard stick for the hundreds of mooted FLNG projects set to go online in the next 10-15 years, but why will it have taken 38 years to get FLNG from the drawing board to the high seas? And why is it full steam ahead now?

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