Research Into Offshore LNG Production  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The ABC has a report on research into floating LNG plants that could enable the exploitation of stranded gas reserves far offshore - Researchers develop method to store gas at sea.

The simple idea of joining two tankers like a catamaran could be the future of energy storage, researchers say.

The researchers have come up with a way to store liquefied gas at sea. Engineers from the Tasmanian-based Australian Maritime College and the Western Australia Research Energy Alliance have designed an offshore storage facility that can hold 660,000 tonnes of liquefied gas.

The project, the researchers say, could revolutionise Australia's energy industry by allowing energy companies to tap into massive but remote reserves under the ocean.

"Everyone knows that with all the various changes, economically and climatically, you might have a situation where you can't get oil imports, so it's a question of energy security," Dr Ian Finnie, chief executive of the Western Australia Energy Research Alliance, said. "We've got 200 years worth of natural gas that was hard to get at, it's a long way offshore, it's in deep water," he added.

Usually gas is piped from undersea to a fixed platform. Another pipeline takes the gas ashore where it is loaded onto tankers and shipped around the world.

A four-metre model is testing whether the stationary storage tanker would work. "With our facilities we're able to replicate the wave conditions and wind conditions that such a concept would actually see in reality," Dr Giles Thomas, of the Australia Maritime College, said.

The offshore storage would mean big savings. "It could be used for other things like converting that natural gas into other transport fuels like petrol and diesel and aviation fuel," Dr Finnie said.

The concept is expected to be ready within a decade.

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