Later this year the LNG industry will celebrate 50 years of commercial operations. Over that half century the industry has come a long way – from the first few decades of being a niche fuel to becoming very much part of the mainstream natural gas industry today. Asian companies have played major roles – as suppliers, as buyers, and, of course, as engineering companies responsible for constructing what are technologically highly complex facilities. One of the leaders in the latter category is Japan’s JGC Corporation.
At the 3rd Annual Gas Asia Summit in Singapore in October, the company’s Project Manager for LNG Projects, Naoyuki Takezawa, will be one of the speakers in a session entitled “Future New Supply: Africa and Russia”. Gastech News asked him about how LNG technology has been evolving and the contribution his company has been making to these advances.
While LNG technology has been advancing throughout the 50 years that the industry has been operating, the pace of innovation has been accelerating over the past decade. As Naoyuki Takezawa says when asked for his views on today’s technological advancements:
“Technologies for LNG project have been developed in recent years, in terms of capacity, process schemes for various feed gas properties, drivers for refrigerant compressors, cooling media, heating media, efficiency, environmental considerations and safety/operability aspects.”
Especially notable have been the advances in train size. From the 0.5 mtpa facilities of the early years, the industry has moved towards trains an order of magnitude larger. Trains with capacities of 5 mtpa are now commonplace and in Qatar we see six trains with capacities of 7.8 mtpa.
As the industry has grown, more and more countries have joined the club of LNG suppliers. “LNG plants were previously located in the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Oceania,” says Takezawa. “However, LNG plants are planned in new frontiers, such as East Africa, the Arctic area, North America and Russia.”
Yet another development has been the utilisation of new gas sources, notably in Australia and North America: “Recent feed gas source include shale gas and coal-bed methane (CBM) as well as conventional natural gas sources,” says Takezawa. “Technologies to remove impurities and to handle lean gas have also been developed.”
When asked how has JGC has contributed to technological improvements in LNG Projects, Takezawa can reel off a long list:
So what about Mozambique? “In recent years,” says Takezawa, “large gas fields offshore of Mozambique were discovered and planning of export LNG was developed. The first LNG project led by a US oil company and partners from Japan, Mozambique, India and Thailand has completed FEED and EPC tendering.
“A second LNG project led by Italian oil major and partners from China, Mozambique, Korea, and Portugal has two options: one for an onshore LNG plant and the other for an FLNG plant; for the onshore LNG plant project, FEED has been completed and EPC tendering has commenced.”
He adds that given the countries of the partners for both the first and the second projects, “LNG exports to Asia should be well considered”.
Looking ahead, Takezawa sees several challenges:
Read the full interview with Naoyuki Takezawa, on our Gas Asia Summit website
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