Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility reached a significant milestone in June 2018 when gas was introduced onboard for the first time as part of the facility startup process, loaded from an LNG Carrier (LNGC) moored in side-by-side (SBS) configuration. This first offshore LNG SBS operation allowed Prelude’s utilities to switch from running on diesel to running on gas.
SBS mooring is the base case configuration for offloading both LNG and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) into product carriers using Marine Loading Arms (MLA) once the Prelude FLNG facility is fully operational. These complex and weather sensitive operations are expected to take place on a weekly basis. This means critical decisions about weather-window and timing should be supported as much as possible by predictive analysis and modelling of forecast environment to reduce the risks.
There are multiple criteria for evaluating the operability of LNGC or LPGC SBS offloading. These criteria cover the various phases of an operation, such as personnel transfer to the visiting carrier, Terminal Team Leader (TTL) transfer, spool fitting and fender lowering, approach and mooring, connection and testing of the loading arms, ramp-up of product transfer, full rate cargo transfer, loading arm purging and recovery, de-berthing, and people and hardware recovery. The criteria have been tailored to be appropriate to the phase of the operation. They comprise both environment-based criteria (maximum acceptable wind and waves conditions), and criteria related to motion or mooring (carrier roll, MLA envelope, mooring line tension, fender deflection). Motion and mooring criteria are evaluated through dynamic time-domain simulations. This allows an accurate modelling of non-linear effects, including mooring characteristics and partially filled cargo tanks. Thrusters can be used to control Prelude FLNG facility position if needed. The required thruster force to maintain the selected heading is calculated with frequency-domain calculation for all possible headings.
This paper presents a visual reporting tool, developed by TechnipFMC in partnership with Shell. This tool has been used to support operational decisions during commissioning and startup, for SBS LNG and LPG import to Prelude FLNG facility. The daily reports used weather forecasts, in combination with numerical simulations, to predict the maximum motion and mooring criteria which contribute to determine both the timing and the decision to proceed with the operation. The format of the report has been designed to be user friendly for offshore operational staff, summarizing efficiently and in a visual manner the usage factors for each criterion separately. An overall operability is also presented for a quick overview. This paper also presents the details of numerical simulations, summarizes the different studies carried out to ensure the reliability of these simulations and discusses the possibilities for future development.