Driving the LNG highway

Half of the gas clean up process: the absorber and stripper.

Half of the gas clean up process: the absorber and stripper.

LNG is not only for export, as shown by BOC’s proposed new ‘LNG highway’, to be constructed along Australia’s east coast. Plant designer and builder Gas Liquid Processing spoke to Gas Today about the first plant to be built and what it could mean for other domestic LNG applications.

Gas Liquid Processing (GLP) is currently constructing the micro-LNG plant in Westbury, Tasmania, for BOC. Construction of the Tasmanian plant is nearing completion. GLP constructed the plant, along with the gas supply pipeline infrastructure connecting it to Tas Gas Networks’ Tasmanian Gas Pipeline.

Mechanical, instrumentation and electrical handover of the plant from GLP to BOC is currently underway, with the pipeline completed and ready to supply gas to the plant.

Pre-commissioning works have started with natural gas due into the plant in November 2010, a delay on the original timetable due to poor weather and general ground conditions.

The micro-LNG plant has been designed and built by GLP in modular form. Plant modularisation helps speed up the construction process and ensures that site engineering and installation hours are reduced.

Experience counts

Following on from the Westbury plant, BOC has approached GLP to start the engineering and procurement for the new micro-LNG plant to be built near Chinchilla, Queensland.

Earlier in the year QGC and BOC announced that QGC would supply gas from its coal seam gas (CSG) fields to BOC starting from July 2011. This would mean that the plant would become the first in Australia to produce LNG from CSG.

The GLP-designed plant will be the first plant built on mainland Australia dedicated to help provide an ‘LNG highway’ along the east coast. This LNG highway will involve a series of LNG refuelling stations between Melbourne and Brisbane. BOC is also currently modifying its existing LNG plant at Dandenong in Victoria to help service the new refuelling stations.

As the Queensland plant is a copy of the Westbury plant, modular skid manufacturing time is reduced because fabricators are simply replicating past work. This results in a relatively small front-end purification capital cost penalty which is covered by the engineering and fabrication efficiencies.

Developing domestic LNG applications

Developing an LNG transport industry can be difficult. Motor companies are unwilling to produce LNG-powered vehicles without a supporting LNG supply network.

On the other side, refuelling station developers are unwilling to finance and operate LNG plants without a customer base.

In committing to construct the LNG plant, BOC is showing commitment to the industry. Furthermore, each LNG production site is sized to allow a further train of the same size or larger to be built, supporting future expansion needs.

The development also supports a new area that is being investigated within the industry, the ‘virtual pipeline’. This concept involves LNG being trucked to remote locations for use in onsite power generation, or placement of the LNG plant on a stranded pipeline before trucking LNG to the end user.

The technology utilised and the hazards involved in this process are well known to companies like BOC and GLP who have extensive experience in the cryogenic and gas industries.

GLP is a wholly-owned private Australian engineering company. For more information on the company and its projects, visit the company’s website.

BOC Limited is a member of the Linde Group.

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