Gastech hears of a new generation of floating, combined regasification and storage concepts that are set to supply generation capacity — all developers need now is a buyer.
The race is now on to become the first provider of a floating LNG solution that will deliver gas ashore for direct use in power generation. In part, it is already happening. Malta is using the floating storage unit (FSU) Armada LNG Mediterrana to supply the 215-MW gas-fired Delimara power plant.
But the regasification facilities are onshore. For years developers have been chasing the ability to deploy floating power units to remote areas that are not connected to the grid, or countries seeking to switch from burning polluting heavy fuel oil or expensive diesel for electricity generation to cleaner burning gas.
Today, the increasing availability and affordability of LNG, and maturity in floating regasification and LNG transfer methods, is giving the concept fresh traction. At the Gastech conference and exhibition in Barcelona last week, gas-to-power delivery designs were plentiful and on prominent display. Some developers, such as Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, have refined their long-planned designs and are now waiting for that all-important
Chinese shipbuilder Wison Offshore & Marine was trumpeting its 300-MW floating storage regasification and power generation barge (FSRP) design, offer-
ing 170,000 cbm of storage capacity. Seeking to collect an approval in principle certificate for the FSRP in Barcelona from Lloyd’s Register, was Wison director of solutions and general manager Maarten Spilker.
He said: “For me it is a natural progression,” referencing the cost and flexibility benefits that floating storage and regasification units have brought.
Wison claims its FSRP, designed for water depths of 12 metres, can produce power priced at $0.07 per kilowatt hour (kWh), less than half the $0.15 to $0.20 per kWh buyers might currently be paying.
Spilker said there are several “real” projects out there backed by traders, LNG suppliers and independent power producers, and that a first unit could be in operation by 2020 or 2021. However, the key is finding the right location.
“There is always going to be site specific design issues,” he added.
But TradeWinds has learned details of one project using an FSRU in combination with a floating power unit that is scheduled for start-up in a year’s time.
Will this be the industry’s first floating gas-to-pow-er solution to go into operation? There are factors to consider.
Water depth is an issue in some of the areas being considered by floating power specialists, especially where there is a preference for a near-shore location. As a result, many designs are barge-based so they can offer access to shallow-draught locations.
The combination of units required for projects — including a floating power plant, floating regasification unit and an FSU, if storage is not included in the regas component such as with an FSRU, along with provision for visiting LNG carriers — means some creative mooring solutions or permanent piling may
Also, if site locations are exposed, protective break-waters may be needed, which could raise capital costs.
One shipbroker in Barcelona last week said there are enough concepts out there now. “What we need is demand,” he added.
His comments chime with the now widely ac-knowledged position that LNG has firmly shifted to become a buyers’ market.
Tellurian chairman and co-founder Charif Souki told delegates at Gastech that the LNG market is becoming increasingly commoditised, with sellers no longer so concerned about where they can send their gas, but more by its global price.
He said that on any one day there are around 15 to 20 LNG cargoes for sale and around 350 cargoes worth, or one trillion cubic feet of gas, in floating storage.
“Most people, if they need LNG can purchase it,” Souki said.
So LNG supply has arrived. Developers are ready and waiting with their concepts. Floating gas to power now needs that brave end-buyer to ink the