FMC Expands LNG Loading Arm Fabrication Capacity

FMC Technologies reported that it has expanded capacity at its Tupelo, Miss., facility for the fabrication of marine loading arms for its Loading Systems business. The company has scheduled a functional test of liquefied natural gas (LNG) loading arms for August 28, 2006. The 16" diameter LNG marine loading arms are part of a four-arm order destined for the Pacific coast of Mexico.

FMC Technologies' Loading Systems, headquartered in Sens, France, designs, manufactures and supplies marine loading arms worldwide. The expansion of the Loading Systems market in the Americas has necessitated additional fabrication facilities to meet the expanding demand for LNG and petroleum product marine loading arms. This led to FMC's decision to fabricate in the United States.

The Tupelo facility has been designing and manufacturing Link-Belt bulk conveyor equipment and systems for over 30 years for FMC's Material Handling business. The plant is well-suited to handle the manufacturing; it is centrally located and in close proximity to canal access. FMC has previously used this location to fabricate marine loading arms for LNG and petroleum products. In addition to the LNG capabilities, the facility will be equipped to manufacture loading arms for other petroleum, gas and chemical applications.

"We are confident that we have both the engineering and manufacturing capabilities to meet this demand for LNG products and services." said Chris Pashalis, President, FMC Technologies' Loading Systems business. "This is the first of several orders we will be filling through the Tupelo plant." Loading Systems' North American unit will be responsible for sales of marine loading arms in the US as well as provide product training and after-sales requirements. The increased capacity will bring additional employment opportunities, decrease customers' order lead-time and provide local aftermarket support.

The first four LNG arms currently being manufactured in the plant are for a project on the Pacific coast of Baja California. On Monday, August 28, FMC will test one loading arm for customer acceptance in accordance with the OCIMF 99 test requirements, including hydraulic maneuvering, emergency release disconnecting, and connect/disconnect operations. This is a functionality test and no LNG or CO2 will be present. On the following day the Tupelo facility will host an open-house for key customers and engineering companies to tour the plant and demonstrate the manufacturing capabilities.