Solitude - Unmanned FLNG concept

Rethinking the future of offshore design and operation

DNV GL has developed a new unmanned floating LNG concept – dubbed ‘Solitude’ – that overcomes many of the challenges currently faced by those looking to unlock the potential of remote offshore gas fields.

Solitude FLNG banner

Read the pressrelease 

The concept design is the result of one of DNV GL’s annual ‘Extraordinary Innovation Projects’ (see definition below).

Cost effectiveness

Solitude demonstrates how technological advances can be combined into a solution that offers some 20 % reduction in annual OPEX, while adding a marginal increase in CAPEX and at the same time increasing overall safety. Most of the technology involved in the concept design is already within reach.

DNV GL embarked on this Extraordinary Innovation Project to directly tackle the double-digit growth in both capital and operational expenditure that many oil and gas companies have experienced over the past decade.
FLNG technology is developing rapidly as part of the industry’s quest for resources in more remote waters. A number of concepts have been discussed, but only a few are currently under construction, owing to ever more challenging cost barriers and increasingly stringent safety and environmental standards.

 Maximising reliability

 “Solitude has been developed with maintainability foremost in mind,” says Elisabeth Tørstad, DNV GL CEO Oil & Gas. “By changing the focus from maximum efficiency to maximum reliability, and selecting robust processing options with built-in redundancy, we were able to develop a solution that ensures production levels and boosts the economic viability of FLNG projects.”

Solitude makes use of advanced, but mainly available, technology to provide its power – in this case fuels cells, as opposed to high-maintenance gas turbines. This improves power generation reliability and reduces the unit’s environmental footprint.


Equipment throughout the FLNG is modularised and monitored from shore with much of the routine maintenance and fault correction carried out by self-programming autonomous inspection and maintenance units (robots). The topside has a system of rails that run along each process train, providing these robots with access to all the equipment.

Wireless sensor networks act as eyes, ears and noses, feeding information to a condition monitoring system that overseas fault detection, proactive maintenance and repair planning.
As there will be no one living on board or working on the topside during normal operation, the associated personal safety risks are eliminated. When people do enter for large maintenance campaigns, the topside would be prepared for a safe working environment. A new support and accommodation vessel concept and its associated docking system on the FLNG further boost the safety of interventions.

Drawing on subsea experience with automation

“Existing frontier oil and gas projects have resulted in tremendous technological developments, particularly in the subsea realm, and Solitude draws on this,” says Elisabeth Tørstad. “Operators are already controlling subsea installations and simple, fixed offshore installations from shore. Given the on-going advances in autonomous systems and remote operations, unmanned offshore installations are a natural development over the next few decades.
“While Solitude is a holistic concept, many of its solutions can be implemented independently – and some are already available today. These projects are our way of thinking out loud. Our aim is to present high-level concepts that can form a basis for discussion and be further developed in collaboration with the industry. We see Solitude as a new opportunity for the future,” says Tørstad.

About Extraordinary Innovation at DNV GL 

DNV GL’s Extraordinary Innovation Projects are part of the organization’s commitment to provide foresight for the future. The company invests 5 % of its revenue in research and development.
Part of this investment in channelled into four Extraordinary Innovation Projects each year. These projects take a fresh look at the industries we work with and the challenges they face. Our aim is to inspire our stakeholders to think differently in developing safer, smarter and greener solutions.

This study examines the future of offshore operations in remote areas, focusing on natural gas
FLNG, Innovation
The concept includes a dock-in solution for special purpose vessels, allowing safe, efficient transfer of personnel and equipment
Solitude envisages no one living onboard or working on the topside during normal operation. This is made possible in part by a combination of autonomous inspections units (AIUs) and autonomous maintenance units (AMUs). For more specialised tasks AMUs can be remotely controlled by a human operator.
FLNG as of today 2015
These projects are our way of thinking out loud. Our aim is to present high-level concepts that can form a basis for discussion and be further developed in collaboration with the industry."
Elisabeth Tørstad,
  • CEO
  • DNV GL - Oil & Gas

More about the project

Going remote

Rethinking offshore operation (brochure)

Going remote

Rethinking offshore operation (video)

Download FLNG as of today 2015 illustration

Press photo

Download FLNG concept illustration drawing

Press photo


Richard Palmer

Regional manager, Australia, NZ and PNG, Oil and Gas

Send email