DNV Unveils New Unmanned FLNG Concept to Trim Cost and Enhance Safety

Norway's DNV GL announced Tuesday at the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association in Melbourne, Australia that it has developed a new unmanned floating LNG (liquefied natural gas) concept that overcomes many of the challenges currently faced by those looking to unlock the potential of remote offshore gas fields.

Called Solitude, the concept demonstrates how technological advances -- most of the technology already within reach -- can be combined into a solution that offers some 20 percent reduction in annual OPEX (operating expenditure), only adding a few percent increase in CAPEX (capital expenditure) and at the same time increase the overall safety.

FLNG technology is developing rapidly as part of the industry’s quest for resources in more remote waters. A number of concepts have been discussed, but only a few are currently under construction, as many oil and gas companies have experienced double-digit growth in both capital and operational expenditure over the last decade.

Foreseeing the need for more remote projects to be able to overcome even more challenging cost barriers, whilst still meeting increasingly stringent safety and environmental standards, DNV GL embarked on an Extraordinary Innovation Project to explore the future of LNG technology. 

“Solitude has been developed with maintainability foremost in mind,” says Elisabeth Torstad, DNV GL CEO Oil & Gas.  “By changing the focus from maximum efficiency to maximum reliability, and selecting robust processing options with built-in redundancy, we were able to develop a solution that ensures production levels and boosts the economic viability of FLNG projects.”

Solitude makes use of advanced but mainly available technology to provide its power. Power that would otherwise be generated by high-maintenance gas turbines can as an example be generated by fuel cells. This improves power generation reliability and reduces the unit’s environmental footprint.

Equipment throughout the FLNG is modularized and monitored from shore with much of the routine maintenance and fault correction carried out by self-programming autonomous inspection and maintenance units (robots). The topside has a system of rails that run along each process train, providing these robots with access to all the equipment.


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