FLNG Hilli Episeyo is the first floating liquefaction plant in the world resulting from the conversion of a LNG tanker. Set-up off Kribi it demonstrates Perenco’s ability to develop innovative and ambitious, even pioneering projects, and once again confirms the company’s technical and economic know-how to exploit mature fields. It is a project that opens new horizons for the company, accessing the closed circle of LNG producers.
Towards a new business model
Perenco is currently the premier oil and gas producer in Cameroon where it has operated since 1993. To combat the natural decline in oil production and respond to the growing needs of the country, Perenco, in partnership with the Société Nationale des Hydrocarbures of Cameroon, has chosen to develop the LNG market, a real growth relay for the company.
In its liquefied form, natural gas can be transported by boat over great distances, thereby facilitating worldwide trade exchanges. Not so long ago, the production of Cameroonian fields was not sufficient to support the investments needed to develop a ground liquefaction plant. Perenco has therefore developed a complex project that makes the operation of these mature fields profitable with a strong GOR - Gas Oil Ratio.
The conversion of a LNG tanker into a floating liquefaction and storage unit (FLNG), the optimisation of Sanaga 1 offshore platform and the modification of the Bipaga treatment onshore facilities, are at the heart of this ambitious and innovative project. By exploiting existing synergies between the Sanaga field and the Bipaga complex, and through pragmatic project management and constant leverage, Perenco has attained a profitability threshold well below that of the market, making it possible to exploit LNG in Cameroon.
The successful start of liquefaction operations in Cameroon will contribute to the emergence of this type of project, opening new development opportunities on marginal offshore fields that have so far not been considered profitable.
A world first: the conversion of a LNG tanker into a FLNG Unit
The "Hilli Episeyo", property of the Norwegian Golar, is the first FLNG resulting from the conversion of a 294 meters LNG tanker built in 1975. Anchored 2 km from the Sanaga 1 platform off Kribi since 20 November 2017, it has now been equipped with four liquefaction trains, each to produce between 500,000 to 700,000 tons per year of LNG with an on-board storage of 125,000 m3. LNG carriers with a capacity of 70,000 to 175,000 m3 can be stowed and the loading is carried out by three transfer arms at a flow rate of 10,000 m3/hour.
The conversion of an existing asset has made it possible to offer a quick and cost-effective solution. 4,000 people have worked for three years to complete this conversion.
• Arrival of FLNG in Cameroon: 20 November 2017
• First gas reception: 14 December 2017
• First liquefaction: 9 March 2018
• First offloading: 15 May 2018
• Commercial start date: 31 May 2018
In 2017, four new wells were drilled on the Sanaga platform in addition to the two existing ones, so as to be able to supply 200 million cubic feet of gas per day.
Sanaga South gas fields, the Bipaga complex and the FLNG "Hilli Episeyo" have been connected by 56 kilometres of multiphase pipeline to transport gas to the onshore processing plant (CPF) to be separated from its liquids by low temperature treatment, then exported to the floating terminal by three turbochargers to be liquefied and stored.
The liquefied petroleum gas "LPG" is extracted by a series of two columns and stored in two spheres to supply the local market. The condensates are stabilised and sent to tanker "La LOBE".
The extension works of Bipaga gas treatment facilities were carried out over the past two years and have increased available treatment capacity from 40 million cubic feet to a maximum of 250 million cubic feet per day. These works have a sizeable scope both internationally and locally. It is not less than 37 processing modules produced all over the world that have then been installed by local companies. 700 people were involved to carry out the work, which will have lasted less than 24 months thanks to a fully committed, professional and motivated projects team.
These facilities as a whole will allow Perenco and the SNH to produce 1,200,000 tons of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) for export, 26,000 tons of domestic gas for Cameroon households, thereby reducing the exports of the country by half; and 3,300 BOPD stabilised condensates exported on the Ebome field, giving a second life to tanker “La Lobe".
This large scale project signifies a turning point for Perenco with the production and marketing of LNG, a high demand energy source positioned as the most abundant fossil energy and the least harmful from the viewpoint of greenhouse gas emissions.
The FLNG Hilli Episeyo, which is totally displaceable, offers new opportunities that are fully aligned with the Perenco growth strategy: growth without technical or geographical limit and by identifying ways our know-how makes a difference.
• + 700 people involved in this project
• 56 km of pipeline set
• 4 drilled wells
• 9,000 tons of equipment transported (weight of the Eiffel tower)
• 2,000 m3 of concrete
• 75 km of cable laid
• + 67 000 inches (1.7 km) of welding