Importance of Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRUs) in Secure LNG Transportation

Floating Storage Regasification Units: When moving Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) across marine channels, a Floating Storage Regasification Unit (FSRU) is an essential component. As a result, FSRUs can be thought of as a unique class of ship utilized in LNG transfer.

Despite LNG’s great environmental friendliness and viability as a fuel component, its transportation is still somewhat difficult. In addition to losing priceless fuel and lives, callousness can also deteriorate the marine ecosystem.

The LNG fuel must be heated to its original gaseous condition after being carried to the desired location in a semi-cooled, slushy state of -160 ˦. The gas must first undergo this warming before being pumped into its storage systems. In addition to being quite costly, the process of freezing and then reheating the fuel takes a long time. A floating storage unit with a reliquefaction plant ultimately resolves this laborious process.

Based on the design they use, FSRU vessels can be categorized as either ships or offshore installations. Two options exist for FSRUs (Floating Storage Regasification Unit) equipment:

  • Alternatively, they can be converted from outdated gas carriers and deployed offshore as a specific installation.
  • FSRU’s installed within a ship are designed for LNG trading operations, regularly dry dock, and adhere to all international marine safety regulations.

It is possible to heat and liquefy gasoline in the ship, avoiding the need to unload semi-frozen slushy fuel.

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The second approach involves modifying an outdated LNG tanker with offshore installations to create a floating LNG unit. This unit can have a mobile propulsion system or no propulsion at all (stationary offshore unit). When necessary, the former allows the unit to function as an LNG tanker in addition to a floating storage unit.

If the former, the procedure can be completed inside the ship itself, avoiding the need to dump the fuel in its semi-frozen, slushy condition.

Docking a reconditioned regasification unit would guarantee proper supply and demand chain balance, making the latter option appear more feasible.

Continuous transference of the LNG cargo from LNG boats would ensure that there is no storage depletion at all since the renovated Floating Storage Regasification Units (FSRU) would also be able to provide storing feasibilities of LNG.

To save time, these kinds of Floating Storage Regasification Units, or FSRUs, are typically located close to the harbor. By positioning it appropriately near a port or harbor, a refurbished gas carrier can be used for Floating Storage Regasification.

The following key equipment is part of the FSRU:

Tanks: The “S” symbolizing the LNG fuel storage is the first significant part of the FSRU. Either membrane or spherical Moss type tanks are used for this. For a ship of the same size, the membrane tank offers more storage capacity than the other one.

Regasification unit: The “R,” which stands for regasification capacity, is the next crucial part of a Floating Storage Regasification Unit, or FSRU. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) must be returned to its atmospheric state after being transported at 162°C (260°F).

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LNG Unloading Arms or Hoses: The supply tanker transporting the LNG cargo transfers the cargo using either cryogenic hoses or an unloading arm that is fixed in the FSRU.
Hoses have advantages over arms.

Advantages of hoses over arms:

  • Accepts Cheaper and smaller than the unloading arm
  • Arms have advantages over hoses.

Advantages of arms over hoses:

  • Quicker offloading
  • Ease of operation
  • Generates less boil of gas than hoses

Heating: Except for those constructed in cold climates, major receiving terminals typically use seawater as a heat source to warm LNG to vaporize it. We refer to this system as an open-loop system. After the heat exchange with LNG, the cold salt water discharged must adhere to strict environmental rules.
The ship’s boilers can be used to heat LNG from its cryogenic state by circulating a freshwater/glycol mixture.

Using an intermediate fluid vaporization procedure (IFV) in two phases is an additional alternative. First, propane vapor condenses LNG, then a heating media (such as seawater) cools it in the second stage. Operators may use a combination of closed and open loop systems.

The primary benefits of IFV that stand out are

  • Reduced chance of freezing by keeping seawater away from the LNG
  • Diminished mass and dimensions of the heat exchanger

Boil-Off-Gas (BOG) Management: During the LNG loading operation in the FSRU pipes, surplus BOG is produced, just like when filling onshore tanks. Prevent the tanks from becoming overpressurized by controlling the extra gas, even though some of it returns to the supply tanker to replace the empty space left by the LNG. By using loading or spray lines, a boil-off gas management system will reliquify the boiling gas and return it to the tank.

Gas Export Arms or Hoses: A high-pressure gas export arm is used to export gas from the majority of inshore FSRUs. For this task, hoses can be given to them in place of an arm.

The advantages of financial flexibility and cost savings that the owner receives, along with the relocation possibility that land-based units do not offer, are the primary reasons for the explosive expansion of fixed-shore units (FSRUs) in the offshore business in recent times. The FSRUs offer a fantastic chance to boost the LNG business, which is already expanding internationally.

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