According to the latest research from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), floating LNG (FLNG) regasification is being used to meet rising natural gas demand in smaller markets.
Floating regasification is a flexible, cost-effective way to receive and process shipments of LNG. It is increasingly being used to meet natural gas demand
in smaller markets, or as a temporary solution until onshore regasification facilities are built.
Of four countries planning to begin importing LNG in 2015, three of them—Pakistan, Jordan, and Egypt—have chosen to do so using floating regasification rather than building full-scale onshore regasification facilities.
Floating regasification uses a floating storage and regasification unit, FSRU, which is a special vessel to transport, store, and regasify LNG onboard, and it can be developed in less time than an onshore facility, EIA said, adding that this technique can also serve as a temporary solution while
permanent onshore facilities are constructed.
There are currently 16 FSRUs that serve as both transportation and regasification vessels and five permanent regasification units that are converted into FSRUs from conventional LNG vessels, according to EIA.
Floating regasification capacity totaled 7.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) at the end of 2014, representing 8% of the global installed regasification capacity, according to data from the International Gas Union. The three floating terminals that are scheduled to come online in 2015 will add 1.4 Bcf/d of new capacity.
The use of floating regasification has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly in emerging markets facing short-term supply shortages. Floating regasification was first deployed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico in 2005 and, since its deployment; it has been used in nine other countries: Argentina, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kuwait, Lithuania, and the United Arab Emirates.