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LNG World Shipping

Mozambique approval sets stage for first ultra-deepwater FLNG

Thu 16 May 2019 by John Snyder

Mozambique approval sets stage for first ultra-deepwater FLNG
Under construction at SHI, Coral Sul will be the world's first FLNG vessel in ultra-deep waters

The Mozambique government has approved the development plan for the Rovuma LNG project, which will produce, liquefy and market natural gas from three reservoirs located in ultra-deep water in the Area 4 block offshore Mozambique. The world’s first ultra-deepwater floating LNG facility is being constructed for the project.

Area 4 is operated by Mozambique Rovuma Venture SpA, a joint venture between ExxonMobil, Italy’s Eni and China National Petroleum Corp, which hold a 70% interest in the Area 4 block. The remaining 30% interest is split equally between Portugal’s Galp, South Korea’s KOGAS and Mozambique’s Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos EP.

In 2012, Eni discovered enormous gas reserves off Mozambique’s coast in the Coral field, located in Area 4 in the Rovuma Basin, containing approximately 450Bn m3 of gas. 

ExxonMobil is constructing and will operate onshore natural gas liquefaction and related facilities on behalf of MRV, while Eni is building and will operate the Coral Sul floating LNG (FLNG) project.

To construct the vessel, Eni has bought together an international consortium of companies: France’s TechnipFMC, Japan’s JGC and South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries, which will be responsible for the hull, gas production equipment, risers and flowlines. Baker Hughes is responsible for the subsea production systems, Norway’s Aker for the umbilicals and Italy’s Saipem for the wells.

A first for Africa, the Coral Sul FLNG vessel will also be the first ultra-deepwater FLNG facility in the world, moored in water of more than 2,000 m. Expected to produce 3.4 mta of LNG, the FLNG vessel is being built to Lloyd’s Register class and will be 430 m long, 66 m wide, and will have a design life of 25 years.

“The FLNG is the best solution possible, both from a technical and production point of view, as well as in terms of the environmental impact,” explained Coral FLNG project development director Stefano Rovelli. “The field is quite far from the coast, and the seabed has a canyon that is up to 13,000 m wide and up to 300 m deep, which makes it difficult to lay pipes to transport the gas to the shore. With a FLNG, the project’s footprint is minimal, limited to the underwater area where we will install three manifolds, the moorings for the vessel and the flexible lines for connection to the FLNG.”

The FLNG will produce, liquefy and store the natural gas at sea. Subsea equipment, such as manifolds, subsea trees and flexible risers will bring the gas to the surface from pockets under the seabed.

Approval of the development plan by the Mozambique Government “marks another significant step toward a final investment decision later this year,” said ExxonMobil Upstream Oil & Gas Company president Liam Mallon.

The marketing effort for the LNG produced from the Rovuma LNG project is jointly led by ExxonMobil and Eni. Sales and purchase agreements for 100% of the LNG capacity for trains 1 and 2 have been submitted to the government for approval, which together will produce more than 15 mta.

During the production phase, the Rovuma LNG project expects to provide up to 17,000 tonnes of LPG per year in Mozambique from Area 4 resources, which is currently about 50% of the country’s LPG imports. The Area 4 partners also plan to distribute up to 5,000 LPG burners and cooking stoves in the Afungi area to replace wood burning.

The Rovuma LNG project is one of two LNG projects in Mozambique that are expected to begin major construction later this year. The other is Anadarko Petroleum's Mozambique LNG project. US-based energy independent Occidental Petroleum has made an offer to acquire Anadarko and is expected to sell Anadarko's Africa assets to Total for US$8.8Bn.

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