Class NK establishes gas FPSO standards

02 May 2011

Nippon Kaiji Kyokai (ClassNK) has published new Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities for LNG/LPG Production, Storage and Offloading, to address the variety of construction and survey requirements for floating gas facilities.

Scope of coverage includes LNG/LPG floating production, storage and offloading facilities (FPSO), floating production and offloading facilities (FPO), and floating storage and offloading facilities (FSO).  

Although Class NK considers the FLNG sector to be in its infancy, it expects the sector to grow rapidly in the near future, therefore it has released these new guidelines to address the growing demand. Due to their sophisticated nature, offshore gas facilities have hitherto mostly been evaluated on a project by project basis, and there has been a lack of clarity about which class rules need to be applied, a factor which these new guidelines address.

“For example,” says Toshiyuki Shigemi, general manager of the development department, “LNG FPSOs fall under both the scope of the our rules for FPSOs developed in 2009, as well as our rules for vessels carrying gas in bulk. With these new guidelines, however, we’ve created a single reference for all the rules that apply to floating gas facilities.”

Rather than just being a compilation of existing rules, the guidelines incorporate a number of requirements exclusive to offshore gas facilities. The guidelines also cover a range of other rules and requirements that apply to such structures, including rules for production machinery, piping arrangements and other equipment to be outfitted. “As floating structures, the design environmental conditions and mooring system are of great importance, so we’ve included complete information on analysis of environmental conditions and mooring systems, as well hull structural requirements, in our guidelines,” says Shigemi.

“Ongoing environmental and logistical concerns related to onshore gas production have helped spur new interest in offshore LNG and LPG projects,” says ClassNK natural resource and energy development project team leader Hirofumi Takano. “With several of these projects entering the design phase, there has been a growing need for clear technical guidelines for the construction and survey of offshore gas facilities, and these new guidelines are an important step in that process.”

The release of the Guidelines for Floating Offshore Facilities for LNG/LPG Production, Storage and Offloading, follows closely on the official establishment of the natural resource and energy development project team in February. “With this new team, we have brought together ClassNK’s top experts from both the LNG and the offshore sectors, and these guidelines are the first result of our increased commitment to this growing sector,” says Takano.

The new guidelines can be downloaded from the Class NK website.

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