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The link that is no longer missing

The natural gas industry is looking at a new era in LNG distribution: the Madrid-based global energy company Gas Natural Fenosa and the Norwegian engineering firm Connect LNG have jointly made the world’s first floating ship-to-shore LNG transfer system a reality.

LNG is rapidly conquering coastal countries around the world, making clean energy available to ports large and small. A new floating system developed jointly by Gas Natural Fenosa and Connect LNG now offers a convenient, safe and uncomplicated means to transfer LNG from ships to onshore terminals.

During the successful sea launch of the first full-scale and market-ready universal transfer system (UTS) on 7 October 2017, Gas Natural Fenosa and Connect LNG carried out a complete LNG transfer operation from Skangas’ LNG carrier Coral Energy to the onshore LNG terminal at Herøya, located in one of the largest industrial parks in Norway.

The time from finalization of the detailed design to successful hook-up of the terminal was less than six months. The solution was installed at the Herøya terminal the day after its arrival from the dockyard, and in full operation the next day, exemplifying the rapid deployment capability of the solution.

The patented UTS is a floating solution that replaces the need for cost-intensive and environmentally challenging shoreside and jetty structures. Promising to be a true game-changer, it could rapidly expand the LNG value chain at locations where LNG transfer was previously not possible due to environmental and economic constraints. The UTS is a plug-and-play solution requiring no modifications to LNG carriers.

Safety first with the UTS solution

The UTS seamlessly integrates with safety systems on both the LNG carrier and the onshore terminal. Whether the port is building new capacity or seeking to expand its existing infrastructure, the UTS will work with all cargo handling and safety systems as well as operating philosophies. The platform supports safety systems, including ESD valves, monitoring equipment, ERS, and control systems of any kind, enabling safe connection, transfer and disconnection. In an emergency the UTS can be disconnected and separated immediately without compromising the integrity of any system components.

Separation between the terminal and the LNG carrier reduces collision risks and increases the safety distance from other activities. The system is designed to comply with all relevant rules and regulations and has undergone full offshore classification by DNV GL.

“With their UTS, Gas Natural Fenosa and Connect LNG have launched a system on the market that provides cheaper access to a low-emission energy source,” states Johan-Petter Tutturen, DNV GL Business Director Gas Carriers. The UTS is the direct link that will help meet the rapidly increasing global demand for natural gas, especially for power generation in emerging markets.

“We started an innovation journey and here we are today with a game-changing solution that is revolutionary for the LNG industry,” says the spokesperson for Gas Natural Fenosa. “From now on there is a market-ready system available that opens a world of possibilities in the small-scale LNG business.”

“With Connect LNG’s disruptive technology and agile company culture, combined with Gas Natural Fenosa’s long track record in the energy market, there was an obvious foundation for collaboration. Leveraging both companies’ strengths, the UTS provides access to natural gas where it has not been economically viable in the past,” declares Morten Angset Christophersen, Managing Director at Connect LNG.

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