Mobil Debuts New i i ^ i k i Natural Gas Technology
Two Mobil Corp. subsidiaries introduced technology for the regasification of liquefied natural gas onboard ships, opening the way for the purchase of small quantities of LNG. The Mobil Shipboard Regasification Terminal is low-capital-cost technology that accelerates deliveries of LNG to customers within 24 months, versus four years or longer for a conventional, land-based LNG receiving terminal.
"Mobil considers this technology as a breakthrough solution that will greatly facilitate the development of new LNG markets," said Michael P. Ramage, Mobil Technology Co.'s president.
With the new offshore technology, LNG carriers will be retrofitted to have the entire regasification facilities located onboard the carrier. Upon arrival at the discharge location with full LNG tanks, the ship will be moored to a single-point mooring system. "This allows the LNG carrier to weathervane around the mooring point, minimizing forces on the installation and maximizing availability," Mr. Ramage said.
The LNG on the carrier will be pumped to delivery pressure, regasified on the ship and discharged as ambient temperature gas via a high-pressure flexible hose. The gas then flows through a high-pressure swivel on the SPM and into a pipeline that delivers the gas to shore. Once the ship has completed regasifying its cargo, it disconnects from the mooring system and returns to the supply port for its next cargo.
The shipboard technology allows customers to purchase small quantities of LNG, Mobil said. Should demand grow to levels that make a full-scale terminal more economically attractive, the technology can supply LNG to a buyer while its conventional terminal is being constructed, providing more flexibility in the development of downstream infrastructure.
According to Mobil, earlier sales of smaller quantities of LNG can have a positive impact on financing as well, by providing new buyers with a means to demonstrate LNG offtake capability and sound cash flows while constructing downstream facilities. By retrofitting two LNG carriers, a system can be developed that allows one to complete a round-trip voyage to the supply port and back while the other is unloading.
In contrast to other offshore terminal concepts, the Mobil technology involves no offshore transfer of cryogenic fluids, and employs only proven technology that has been integrated in a unique manner that is the subject of a U.S. patent application.