DNV GL develops unmanned FLNG concept

21 May 2015
Existing frontier oil and gas projects have resulted in tremendous technological developments, particularly in subsea

Existing frontier oil and gas projects have resulted in tremendous technological developments, particularly in subsea

DNV GL has developed a new unmanned floating LNG concept that it says overcomes many of the challenges currently faced by those looking to unlock the potential of remote offshore gas fields.

The Solitude concept demonstrates how technological advances can be combined into a solution that offers some 20% reduction in annual OPEX, creates only a few percent increase in CAPEX and increases the overall safety all at the same time.

Elisabeth Tørstad, CEO Oil & Gas at DNV GL, said: “Solitude has been developed with maintainability foremost in mind. 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 technology for its power, including fuel cells - power which would otherwise be generated by high-maintenance gas turbines. This improves power generation reliability and reduces the unit’s environmental footprint.

Equipment throughout the FLNG is modularised and monitored from shore with much of the routine maintenance and fault correction carried out by self-programming autonomous inspection and maintenance units. The topside has a system of rails that run along each process train, providing these robots with access to all the equipment.
Wireless sensor networks feed this information to a condition monitoring system that overseas fault detection, proactive maintenance and repair planning.

“Operators are already controlling subsea installations and simple, fixed offshore installations from shore. Given the on-going advances in autonomous systems and remote operations, unmanned offshore installations are a natural development over the next few decades," Tørstad added. “While Solitude is a holistic concept, many of its solutions can be implemented independently – and some are already available today.”

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, owing to ever more challenging cost barriers and increasingly stringent safety and environmental standards.

The Solitude project is one of DNV GL’s annual ‘Extraordinary Innovation’ initiatives, which the organisation says are intended to “inspire our stakeholders to think differently and support the development of safer, smarter and greener solutions”> DNV GL invests five per cent of its annual revenue in research and development.

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