'Minimal equipment requirements and compact footprint make PRICO ideal for offshore liquefaction projects'
Hoe Wai Cheong
President - Oil & Gas
Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch (B & V) has been involved in a lot of LNG facilities across the world and its PRICO Technology is mostly used all of these projects. Hoe Wai Cheong, President - Oil & Gas, Black & Veatch, shares the development of B & V's on-going and past involvement in LNG facilities across globe and details about why PRICO technology is a preferred choice for FLNG applications, with Rakesh Roy of Offshore World.

How many LNG plants has Black & Veatch been involved with? What was one of your most challenging projects to date?

Black & Veatch was involved in many of the world's first LNG facilities in Algeria and in the United States in the early 1960s.

We have developed more than 30 operating LNG production facilities globally, two of which are offshore, most of which use our PRICO single-mixed refrigerant process. The facilities handle a broad range of gas streams from pipelines, produced gas, coal gasification, coal seam production and coke oven gas. Our plants have produced more than 176 mm tons of LNG.

In addition to liquefaction plants, Black & Veatch has strong LNG import terminal capabilities. Among the most significant of these, historically, is the Costa Azul LNG terminal in Mexico. Currently we are supporting the development of India's LNG import infrastructure with the regasification terminal at Ennore for Indian Oil Corporation; and a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) terminal for Swan LNG at Jafrabad. The Ennore terminal, with a send-out capacity of five million tonnes, entered operation earlier this year.

Some of our most complex projects have been the unique, first-of-a-kind work , in the FLNG sector. Our FLNG firsts include the projects below. First of a kind projects, by definition present new challenges.
  • The world's first barge -based floating liquefaction unit, currently operating Argentina
  • First-of-a-kind conversion of an LNG carrier to a floating on-board natural gas liquefaction and storage vessel, which unit has been commercially deployed, currently operating in Cameroon
Can you please detail about the success of bagging the second contract from Golar LNG for an FLNG conversion?

We have secured a second FLNG conversion project for Golar. The first was the Hilli Episeyo in 2014. The success of that project led to the award of the Gimi conversion in 2018. Both projects are for conversion of Golar LNG carriers into floating liquefaction vessels (FLNGV).

Our scope of work is broadly the same across both projects: detailed engineering and process design, specify and procure topside equipment, and provide commissioning support for the topsides and liquefaction process.

PRICO, which is used on both vessels, has been central to us winning the work. The system is proven; its minimal equipment requirements and compact process footprint make it ideal for offshore liquefaction projects. Confidence in the technology's suitability for offshore applications was rewarded in 2016 when PRICO became the world's first liquefaction technology to achieve production on a floating facility. In 2018 the technology successfully completed its Guaranteed Performance Test aboard Hilli Episeyo.

The Hilli Episeyo was the world's first FLNG vessel developed as a conversion project from an LNG carrier. The vessel is moored, and in operation, off the coast of Cameroon. First of a kind projects have unique challenges. The lessons we learnt from the Hilli increased efficiencies on the subsequent project.

Tell us about B & V's work on the Tango FLNG?

Exmar's Tango FLNG is the world's first barge-based floating liquefaction unit, designed by B & V to produce 0.5 MTPA LNG. Earlier this year the barge's PRICO plant completed its Guaranteed Performance Test and commenced commercial operations to load Argentina's first cargo for exporting LNG.

Unlike the conversion projects, Tango was a purpose built new barge vessel designed for jetty mooring, rather than open water. The barge has a smaller footprint and was possible only with use of our space efficient PRICO technology. The size constraints provided their own challenges but proved to be a very successful configuration in that scale.

Tell us about Black & Veatch's PRICO technology? What makes it so well-suited for FLNG applications?

Minimal equipment requirements and compact footprint make PRICO ideal for offshore liquefaction projects. The single-mixed refrigerant process’ entire liquefaction train (0.5 -2.0 MTPA) can be built in a single module with gas coming in and LNG going out. This minimizes module interconnection which is undesirable on FLNG. PRICO offers the lowest capital cost of all competing technologies and a simplified control system. Our patented process allows for rapid start-up and shutdown and is proven in reliable operations, with reduced personnel requirements. PRICO configurations have been fully vetted for offshore application on FLNG with marinization.

FLNG operations with multiple smaller trains also benefit from providing manageable offtake capacity to ser ve single or multiple sales contracts. Installing the process in the controlled environment of a shipyard anywhere in the world helps ensure consistent high quality

In addition to FLNG applications, PRICO is used for onshore base-load LNG supply, peak shaving, vehicle fuel supply and gas distribution systems. The current industry demand and trend is to utilize midscale multiple trains configuration for both offshore and onshore applications. PRICO configurations fit this well with our single train-single module designs up to 2.0 MMTPA per train.