Evolving solutions for ship-to-ship LNG transfer in tandem configuration



Vincent Lagarrigue, marketing and project manager, Trelleborg Industrial Solutions, Clermont-Ferrand, France, and Richard Hepworth, president, Trelleborg Marine Systems (TMS) Business Unit, Dubai, UAE


Moving LNG production offshore

Moving liquefied natural gas (LNG) production offshore has presented the oil and gas industries with a unique and complex set of challenges. Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities need to maintain the utmost levels of safety and give increased flexibility to LNG production while withstanding the effects of winds, waves and currents in the open seas.

While many of these requirements have been met – and with FLNG now technically and economically proven – the market is moving towards taking FLNG further offshore. This means that existing components used on current sites that are relatively mild are not as effective. It’s important to remember too, that even the first FLNG plants are still relatively new – so there are still lessons to be learned.

In practice, some major operators are now finding that there is a need to evolve certain components and innovative new products are being developed to keep pace with this rapidly evolving industry. 

Ship-to-ship LNG transfer  

Conventional transfer systems, which have been adapted to enable LNG ship-to-ship transfers in open water through side-byside configuration, might not always be sufficient and could result in the shutdown of the liquefaction plant in the event of bad weather conditions, with the transfer operation having to battle the effects of wind and currents in the open sea.

With downtime at such a premium in the LNG arena, failure is not an option, so thought is now being given to more flexible solutions and hose-based systems are coming to the forefront as viable alternatives, with the added benefit of potentially being more cost competitive.

The cryogenic flexible hose is a technology which has seen a rapid increase in innovation and development to keep up with these requirements, and helps to address the stringent demands of the offshore oil and gas industry. However, there is a certain level of dissatisfaction with hoses that are currently used in the market, and in the absence of mature tandem offloading solutions using floating hoses, leading manufacturers have initiated the development of their own systems.   

Technical details

One such system is the…

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