A FLiNG Ain't What It Used To Be

Tyler Durden's picture

There was a time when flings (insert personal contextual experience) used to be simple, impromptu, largely trivial things seeking instant gratification. That was until Shell's Floating Liquid Natural Gas facility, or FLiNG, came along: currently being built in the South Korean shipyards (largely unoccupied in the past several years after a surge in dry bulk container ship construction left the industry with a massive inventory glut and little demand for its precision engineering), this behemoth of a ship, measuring nearly half a kilometer in length, and displacing 600,000 tonnes of water, will be the world's largest offshore floating facility when deployed 200 km off the north-west coast of Australia in 2017 to process the recently discovered Prelude and Concerto gas fields. It will also likely revolutionize the field of Liquified Natural Gas extraction.

Natural gas is one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels, in relative abundance, extremely versatile and energy rich, and in a world in which reliance on foreign crude, much of in inhospitable hands, will likely play an ever greater role in energy production. It is also very "green", as it consumes less fresh water and takes up less land per unit of energy delivered. Yet one of the historical drawbacks is that traditional transportation options are limited, and extraction facilities are very bulky and complex, highly engineered and not geared toward deep sea exploration where environmental and extraction costs are prohibitive, requiring subsea pipelines traveling hundreds of kilometers to a mainland LNG facility, thus curbing one of the largest potential sources of natural gas in the world: those located underwater. All this may change with the arrival of Floating Liquid Natural Gas facilities, such as Shell's 488 meter FLNG.

The FLiNG in context:

Developed after 10 years of research, using 600 engineers, and 1.6 million man-hours (182.5 years equivalent), Shell has manged to compact the size of a traditional LNG plant to a quarter of its land size. As Wired explains: "by stacking components vertically and using deep-sea water to cool the gas to its liquid state, the FLNG saves dramatically on deck space and enables the whole facility to occupy an area of roughly 4 football pitches: 28,500 square meters. One of its most innovative features involves the the plant's unique location: an assembly of eight one-meter diameter pipes will extend 150m below the ocean's surface, delivering around 50 million liters of cold seawater an hour, used to cool the gas."

Another cool feature: the "anchoring" mechanism. "The FLNG is set to remain on location for 25 years before returning to dock, in which time it can expect to meet its fair share of stormy weather. Although its sheer size will help in coping with the high winds and giant waves, one of the largest mooring systems in the world has been designed to help guarantee safety. A 105-meter turret will run through the facility and secure it to the seabed using mooring chains, while three 6,700 horsepower engines will turn it according to wind conditions."

Good: because if the tiny by comparison BP Deepwater Horizon rig caused such catastrophic environmental havoc after one mishap, the last thing nature will need is half kilometer large flaming barges, floating out of control in the deep seas.

The bottom line: one FLiNG can produce 5.3 million tonnes of LNG, Liquified Petroleum Gas and condensate per year. Once operational, it, and its peers, will have a decided impact on the logistics, infrastructure and geopolitical balance of power in a world in which energy (and food) will continue to play the most dominant marginal role.

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ForTheWorld's picture

Unfortunately, it's people who create the various devices that are then picked up by other people who see a people problem, and combine this technology created by people to make a further two (or more) problems - drones and indiscriminant killing of people using drones. Then we have the people controlling those drones being variables in the problem that don't see it as a problem to kill people using devices designed to make it all seem like a computer simulation. It's all very problematic, you see.

NidStyles's picture

Oh my I think you're starting to understand it.... Keep following it, I'm serious, maybe you'll get it.


StockProdigy's picture

Who would have thought it, Mel Gibson posts on ZH.

Mentaliusanything's picture

Dapper Dan, They have gone to far. 3000 new settlement... WTf. Someone is a little pissed they lost a clear mandate. so what do they do..... escalate. I know that the majority of jews wants a clear and lasting peace but are randsom to a Government who is run by blood thirsty Hawks.

 we shall see if they are brought kicking and screaming to a realisation that that place still breathes even with a hob nailed boot apon its neck. Such short memories of 1948.  perhaps they forget what it was like...... displaced as are the ones who cry for Freedom without conditions.

Dapper Dan's picture

You may find this of interest,

Weekend Edition Nov 30-Dec 02, 2012

The UN and Palestine by URI AVNERY

It was a day of joy.

Joy for the Palestinian people.

Joy for all those who hope for peace between Israel and the Arab world.

And, in a modest way, for me personally.

The General Assembly of the United Nations, the highest world forum, has voted overwhelmingly for the recognition of the State of Palestine, though in a limited way.

The resolution adopted by the same forum 65 years ago to the day, to partition historical Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab state, has at long last been reaffirmed.

I hope I may be excused a few moments of personal celebration.

During the war of 1948, which followed the first resolution, I came to the conclusion that there exists a Palestinian people and that the establishment of a Palestinian state, next to the new State of Israel, is the prerequisite for peace.

As a simple soldier, I fought in dozens of engagements against the Arab inhabitants of Palestine. I saw how dozens of Arab towns and villages were destroyed and left deserted. Long before I saw the first Egyptian soldier, I saw the people of Palestine (who had started the war) fight for what was their homeland.

Before the war, I hoped that the unity of the country, so dear to both peoples, could be preserved. The war convinced me that reality had smashed this dream forever.

I was still in uniform when, in early 1949, I tried to set up an initiative for what is now called the Two-State Solution. I met with two young Arabs in Haifa for this purpose. One was a Muslim Arab, the other a Druze sheik. (Both became members of the Knesset before me.)

At the time, it looked like mission impossible. “Palestine” had been wiped off the map. 78% of the country had become Israel, the other 22% divided between Jordan and Egypt. The very existence of a Palestinian people was vehemently denied by the Israeli establishment, indeed, the denial became an article of faith. Much later, Golda Meir famously declared that “there is no such thing as a Palestinian people”. Respected charlatans wrote popular books “proving” that the Arabs in Palestine were pretenders who had only recently arrived. The Israeli leadership was convinced that the “Palestinian problem” had disappeared, once and forever.

More at link below


(must scroll down @ link for Uri's story)

URI AVNERY is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch’s book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

Sanksion's picture

Come on, it is a war of religion, peace hadn't happened for 1 400 years (since 637, Siege of Jerusalem by Khalid ibn al-Walid), why it would happen today or in the next thousand years ? 

Jews want their land back, and muslim want them all dead. 


"Only the dead see the end of war."

NidStyles's picture

Oddly it wasn't a war before 1947...

Samsonov's picture

Are you two arguing about Pakistan or Palestine?  Not the same, although I can see why the confusion since they both start with P and they're both terrorist breeding grounds.

Dapper Dan's picture

Sam,  I am leaving this link for you, as I sense you are looking for feedback,

The following link will  provide you a Conducive atmosphere for further discussion.


Samsonov's picture

"Conducive" atmosphere for "discussion"?  Quoteth Mr. Dan, "The operators back in America obviously have a problem remembering that they’re killing real people, that it isn’t a video game."  Those "operators" are soldiers fighting a war.  Our soldiers.  Fighting for us.  And you essentially pronounced them murderers based on propoganda from a socialist rag.  I've got your "link" right here.

Karlus's picture

Progressives have always wanted the big tent and consistantly fail to understand what is our culture and what is not. That there are good guys and bad guys.

In the politically correct world, our enemies have the moral high ground and America is the cause of all of the worlds problems as they pull up to Kroger sipping a latte in their leased Lexus.

Our country and are values are truly exceptional. We are the shining city on the hill. We do have the right to smite our enemies and remove their ability to harm us. In short I believe our values do make us better than everyone else. Im an American, and that used to be and will be special again.

The tree of liberty is periodically watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.

Just because you will not life your pale soft skinned pinkie from your starbucks does not mean that we will not. You and your kind do not deserve to share in the rewards of this great country.

NidStyles's picture

It's not "OUR" country. It's a piece of fucking land that someone decided to trademark out with lines on a map.


To be honest, only progressives believe in that nationalist crap. The difference is whether you are an internationalist or a nationalist. You're both considered Progressives to the rest of us that don't want any part of your idiocy.

slackrabbit's picture

then one day a spark....or a bomb........oh right this is already a floating bomb...

Burticus's picture

So Shell's new ginormongous floating facility extracts & liquifies the gas at sea.  Thanks for the intel.  But wait, there's more:

As I understand, the LNG must then be transferred to other specialized vessels that deliver to specialized ports or offshore facilities, who regassify and pipe it to customers.  Keep in mind that the whole time, this super-volatile $#!+ is under very high pressure and very low temperature.  You figger all this will cost a helluva lot o' FeRNs.  Plus, (as piled on above) if even one moron  **cks up...BOOM!

Another vessel is planned for receiving and regassifying LNG off shore from the Port of Tampa:

"A new and specially designed Höegh LNG liquefied natural gas (LNG) regasification vessel will be moored at a submerged buoy in the Port Dolphin deepwater port. Conventional LNG carriers will transport LNG to Florida and transfer their cargo to the custom-built Höegh LNG vessel, which will in turn convert LNG to gas by processing the LNG at an onboard regasification plant. The natural gas will then be transported from the deepwater port to shore at Port Manatee through an undersea pipeline. The pipeline will extend inland for about four miles where it will connect with other interstate and intrastate pipelines to supply muchneeded natural gas..."

NidStyles's picture

Liquid Natural Gas isn't pressurized.

Yellowhoard's picture

LNG is the future and it can be safe.

Some of these massive LNG tankers should be prevented from docking in busy harbors.

But, if facilities are built a few miles off shore to convert LNG back into NG, there is no danger to the general population.

No doubt, there are oil interests around the world that would just love to see one of these LNG carriers explode in Boston harbor and bring on an end to LNG competition.

THE DORK OF CORK's picture

How large is the smoking room ?

squexx's picture

I used to live in the place in Korea they made them. Koje Island, not too far from Pusan. Nice little place, always liked it there.

ian807's picture

World's biggest floating bomb?

Money Squid's picture

This ship should be named the Hank Hill

americanspirit's picture

That mooring device better work perfectly. There are some Mondo cyclones in that part of the world. Also they better have some in-depth defenses against air, surface and sub-surface attack because that is one hell of a trophy. Irresistable I would venture to say.

Schmuck Raker's picture

I bet Simon Black already has a Shell passport and a FLiNG-PM account.

bilejones's picture

Anybody know what these babies cost?

KingTut's picture

Basic science for commenters;

  • It takes about 1-2% of the energy in NG to convert it to LNG.  
  • 1000 cu ft of NG (10ft x 10ft x 10ft) reduces to 12 gallons of LNG.
  • Note that 12 gallons of LNG has the energy equivalent of 9 gallons of gasoline ($3.75 vs $25.57 wholesale)
  • Gasification plants are fairly simple, because you don't need extra energy to gasify LNG.  Heat energy must be taken from the environment in a controlled way.
  • LNG is not explosive or combustable by itself, you have to mix with air at just the right ratio for it to even burn.  
  • However, a high volume release would mix with air and the ratio would happen in the dissapating cloud. It would burn prodigiously at these regions.  The heat from the fire would accerate the boiling of the LNG into more NG to burn even more intensly.  Very dangerous in a port esp with hgih winds.  Could catch a city on fire.
Oh regional Indian's picture

Tut, good information, thanks,

This monsterosity sounds like a bad idea overall.


mezurak's picture

So if they build these types of factory ships to process US LNG fields for direct export, won't that blow the Jones Act out of the water?

jonjon831983's picture

Aka massive floating fuel-air bomb.


There was a disaster scenario tv show that proposed an accidental LNG tanker leak could cause LNG to float across water surface into port area/a city and then re-gassify... wherein a spark could ignite it... and... BOOOOOOM.  Hence fuel-air bomb.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Didn't the movie 'Syriana'  end with a terrorist attack on an LNG tanker using a 'disabled' stolen missle?    


Guess the guys behind this project missed that movie.   I wonder how far away you'll be able to see this fireball?