Bluewater Completes Tests For Big Sweep LNG Mooring System

Bluewater Offshore Production Systems has successfully completed a model basin test program for its 'Big Sweep' LNG mooring and fluid transfer system to Oceanic Consulting Corporation in St. John's. The model tests are performed as part of a Cooperative Research Study conducted by Conversion Gas Imports, L.P. (CGI) and have the aim to prove the design of an offshore LNG mooring and transfer system for a large scale Salt Cavern based LNG receiving terminal using the Bishop Process ™ Eighty percent of the funding for this study is provided by the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), the remainder is being raised by more than 20 industry participants.

The 'Big Sweep' mooring system is a fully weathervaning Single Point Mooring (SPM) system specifically designed for the safe transfer of LNG to and from LNG carriers up to 200,000 m3. The system is designed to to accommodate a very high regularity of operation by using a robust cryogenic flow path with a minimum number of mechanical components. Moreover, the system can berth virtually any non dedicated LNG carriers, thereby enhancing the operational flexibility of the import terminal.

CGI has completed field testing of the critical components of its Bishop Process™, a novel method of re-gasifying liquefied natural gas (LNG) directly from LNG carriers for subsequent storage in underground salt caverns. Initial indications are that a salt cavern-based LNG terminal can be built at about half the cost and twice the capacity of a conventional liquid storage tank terminal. The Bishop Process™ entails receiving LNG directly from an offshore tanker, pressurizing and warming it to 40 degrees F, and then injecting the natural gas into underground salt caverns for storage, thereby effectively eliminating the need to build expensive above-ground cryogenic storage tanks, while simultaneously increasing the storage capacity potential of LNG imports.

In the cooperative research study, Bluewater Offshore is working closely together with Paragon Engineering Services and CGI on a case study for an offshore implementation of the Bishop Process™. The LNG receiving terminal will be located on Vermilion block 179, 50 NM offshore Louisiana. The terminal, located in waterdepth of just under 100 ft will have a peak send-out capacity of 2.5 bcfd to three major gas gathering systems. It comprises a 'Big Sweep' LNG mooring terminal located at 1 NM distance from a re-gas, injection and send-out platform.