ABB has been given the job of designing, manufacturing and installing the electrical systems for one of the world’s first commercial floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms . The work was assigned by JCG corporation, a Japanese engineering, procurement and construction contractor that is involved in the consortium building the platform for Malaysian oil producer Petronas.
The Petronas FLNG2, which is the second such facility built for the company, is being built in the Samsung Heavy Industries’ yard in Geoje, Korea. When the facility is completed in 2018 it will be stationed over the Rotan gas field off the coast of Malaysia, although it may be transferred to other locations over its lifetime. FLNGs are intended to be agile, low cost options for extracting gas from fields that are not thought large enough to justify extensive production infrastructure. The platform will be expected to extract 1.5 million tons of LNG annually for at least 20 years before it requires a dry dock.
The design of the electrical systems, which included transformers, switchboards, motor-control centers and power management software, was challenging for several reasons. Firstly, the process of liquefying natural gas requires high pressures and high electrical loads, produced by machinery that must be accommodated within a tightly restricted area that is shared by both the operators and crew and highly flammable gases, all of which are subject to the usual hazards of life at sea. Secondly, although ABB has extensive experience of working in the offshore oil and gas industry, floating platforms such as the Petronas FLNG2 are relatively novel.
A key part of the solution was the use of ABB’s “e-houses”, which in this case stretch as high as a five-storey building. These prefabricated steel substations ensure the equipment functions safely.