Trends in LNG technology: Interview with Shell's Guy de Kort

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Guy de Kort, Vice President Development Integrated Gas, Shell
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Gastech News had the pleasure of interviewing Guy de Kort, Vice President Development Integrated Gas at Shell about the main trends in LNG technology, Shell's LNG projects and his predictions for the gas industry in the next 7-10 years.

Gastech News: What are the main trends in LNG technology and where (/what markets) can it have the most impact?

Guy de Kort: The global LNG market is growing and diversifying, with more countries importing LNG, more buyers emerging in existing LNG import countries, and more market segments.

Shell’s focus is on technologies that improve existing facilities, open up new markets for LNG and lower greenhouse gas emissions, all the while with an eye to making potential future LNG projects more robust.

We’re helping to improve the performance and efficiency of the LNG plants that we advise – to get more from these existing assets. This can be through debottlenecking, and maximising availability and reliability but also through the implementation of improved technologies.

We are actively developing new markets and new outlets for our gas, particularly in marine and heavy road transport.

Though we have slowed the pace of new investment, we still see a place for large LNG projects in the future and so we are using this time to optimise technology designs and integrate new ideas where they can reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Gastech News: How has Shell LNG technology evolved since it started in the 1960s?

Guy de Kort: Shell is extremely proud of our long - more than 50 years - history in the development of LNG. It helps us to be a reliable partner with deep understanding of LNG, able to deliver better advice and integrated solutions.

In operating LNG facilities, we are driving the adoption of new technologies that can improve operations. An example is ‘SmartConnect’ which allows remote analysis of key equipment and condition monitoring, potentially lowering equipment failure rates.

In regasification, Shell has developed a new high pressure emergency release system (HP ERS) that aims to isolate, depressurise and disconnect the gas supply quickly and reliably in an emergency situation.

In LNG for transport, we are working with original engine manufacturers on LNG engine performance. We’re also part of a joint industry project that is developing a new ‘octane number’ for LNG, potentially leading to more engine power, less fuel consumption, and improved engine availability and safety.

Gastech News: How are Shell’s LNG projects moving forward?

Guy de Kort: Given the current environment and new supply coming to market, we have slowed the pace of new investment decisions and are reshaping projects for better returns. However, we continue to progress competitive growth with a diverse funnel of opportunities for both greenfield and brownfield LNG.

Gastech News: How will the global gas & LNG industry develop in the next 7-10 years?

Guy de Kort: The significant drivers in the energy sector, and society, that we think will shape our industry are relatively well known: a growing population coupled with a higher quality of life for more people. These forces inevitably drive a higher demand for energy. At the same time, governments, business and society expect that this energy will come with less CO2. This results in a robust demand outlook for gas and specifically LNG, and, over the longer term, a transition to a lower carbon energy system.

But no LNG project is developed overnight – rather most have a lead-time of 4+ years. If we are to see viable new projects coming on-stream over the next decade, costs must be addressed to remain competitive in the global energy market.

Top of my list is simplification and standardisation – for example we can help our contractors to bring their costs down by using industry standards where possible. By working to address complexity, we can all help to bring costs to a more affordable level.

Gastech News: With yourself being a member of the exclusive Gastech Governing Body, what are you most looking forward to at Gastech 2017?

Guy de Kort: For me it is the opportunity to meet with people across the industry. Gastech brings a wide range of stakeholders together and so it is a great forum for sharing ideas and inspiring creativity. I’m looking forward to hearing ideas that will help us to deliver more and cleaner energy through the coming decades.

Tuesday, April 4th at 10:00am - Maarten Wetselaar, Integrated Gas & New Energies Director for Shell will be giving a Global LNG Leader's Address at the Gastech Conference 2017 in Chiba – Tokyo. View the Gastech conference programme and book your delegate place today.