Over many years, onshore plants have been deployed to liquefy the gas extracted from offshore wells and regasify the liquefied gas before sending it to the consumer grid. Currently the LNG Offshore Industry crosses a new development period since LNG Offshore Floating Units are considered as good options to improve the viability of gas supply.
Nevertheless this paper will introduce the main safety challenges usually identified on LNG Offshore facilities, such as the space constraints on LNG Liquefaction Offshore Floating Units and injuries to personnel due to the cryogenic properties of the LNG. Moreover, it will be demonstrated that each hazard has a particular solution which has to be carefully assessed in order to ensure that the risks linked to an installation dealing with LNG are well understood and under control at the same time that the expectations of the project are achieved and compliance with recognized international health and safety standards is respected.
Gaining knowledge about the properties of hazardous substances processed and operations performed in the installations is crucial to ensure safety in LNG Industry. Therefore this paper also aims at ensuring the awareness and understanding concerning the issues that could compromise the safety in LNG installations. As previously mentioned, a great concern in the LNG Offshore Industry is related to the space constraints in the site, once in case of a gas release followed by ignition there is the probability of escalation occurrence through the whole installation, what would affect personnel, environment and assets. Despite the space constraints found on offshore installations, it is important to consider minimum safety distances among the LNG facility systems. Thus, control of major hazards is of key importance, and prevention of escalation from an initial incident is critical. Also, it is important to understand what conditions could cause physical effects such as a pool fires, rapid phase transitions and vapour cloud explosions. Since this paper details and compares the safety challenges related to LNG processes, it will be presented some examples of accidents occurred in LNG facilities. The lessons learned from previous accidents can enable the companies to justify the investment to improve the safety in the installation and develop an effective Risk Management, which provides several benefits for the LNG operations (i.e.: the fewer accidents so lower employee absence, lessened threat of legal actions against the company, better reputation and consequently, reduced costs, increased productivity and greater profit.).