The Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) project is due for first gas in 2017 and other projects are in the pipeline to take up the FLNG concept. These indicate that FLNG is now seen as a viable solution to access remote gas resources, of varying size, avoiding the infrastructure expenditure associated with long gas transmission pipelines and onshore processing and export facilities.

A number of other developments are considering the FLNG concept for gas development due to the perceived simplicity from design, control and operability perspectives. FLNG however, brings with it many challenges and when detailed engineering commences it can feel like opening Pandora's Box. Design and operability issues are driven by the proximity of complex reservoir behaviour and the intricate processing equipment associated with offshore FLNG which, amongst others, can regularly lead to production disruption and complex operability issues.

The paper provides an overview of FLNG, its potential challenges and the associated solutions, so you end up with the Holy Grail rather than Pandora's Box.

1.1 Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG)

FLNG is a floating facility that will produce, liquefy, store and transfer LNG (and usually condensate) at sea. FLNG is a new enabler in the production of natural gas, particularly when considering remote locations and ‘new frontiers’ for gas reserves. However, development of such facilities is not without its challenges, particularly from a process, flow assurance and multiphase flow stand-point to ensure the operability and full understanding of the CAPEX and OPEX requirements and potential impacts.

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