Petrobras gains regas FSRU for LNG terminal

Warren True
OGJ Chief Technology Editor-LNG/Gas Processing

HOUSTON, Feb. 16 -- Petroleo Brasilerio SA (Petrobras) in early January took delivery of the Golar Spirit, the world's first floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) vessel, following commissioning tests on the vessel's regasification trains. The contract was completed by Golar LNG Ltd. following contract award in April 2007.

The vessel is going into service at Petrobras's LNG terminal off Pecem, Ceara state. Each of its three regas units can send out up to 130 MMcfd. Two units normally work while the third remains on standby, according to Blake Blackwell, vice-president of business development for Golar LNG.

Conversion
The 127,000-cu m Golar Spirit was converted from a traditional LNG carrier in about 6 months at the Keppel Shipyard, Singapore. Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. originally built the vessel at its Sakaide, Japan, yard. Commissioned in 1981, it was the first LNG carrier built in Japan.

Its conversion in 2007 involved addition of the three vaporizers, designed by Moss Maritime; three booster pumps, five in-line pumps, and more turbo generation capacity, all manufactured by Shinko Industries Ltd., Hiroshima; and automation, manufactured by Kongsberg.

The 289-m vessel contains five Moss Rosenberg spherical aluminum storage tanks.

"FSRUs are site and project specific," Blackwell told OGJ. At Pecem, Petrobras has elected to place LNG unloading arms and high-pressure (HP) gas arms on both sides of a pier.

An LNG carrier berths on the side away from the FSRU and unloads its cargo with the unloading arms onto the FSRU, which then regasifies the LNG and moves the natural gas ashore via the HP gas arms, said Blackwell. By locating the HP arms and LNG loading arms on the pier, Petrobras retains flexibility in moving an FSRU among demand centers.

Later this year, Petrobras will use the Golar Spirit to commission a second offshore LNG terminal, in Guanabara Bay, Rio de Janeiro. In the meantime, Blackwell said a second LNG carrier, the Golar Winter, is undergoing conversion at the Keppel yard.

Contact Warren R. True at warrent@ogjonline.com.

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