Snowvet LNG Export Terminal on Mercoya Island in Hammerfest, Norway-Hydrocarbon Technology

2021-11-16 18:31:24 By : Ms. Rain Diao

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The Snøhvit LNG project aims to develop the resources of three gas fields in the Barents Sea: Snøhvit, Albatross and Askeladd (250m to 345m deep), located about 140 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest, Norway.

These fields were first discovered in the 1980s and have estimated reserves of 193 billion cubic meters of LNG, 17.9 million cubic meters of condensate and 5.1 million tons of liquefied natural gas (NGL). The Snøhvit and Albatross fields started production in 2007, while the Askeladd field will start production in 2014-15.

The natural gas production system is one of the first systems in Europe to use a subsea production platform, which transports natural gas through a 143-kilometer-long multiphase pipeline to the 4.2 million tons of LNG processing on the island of Mercoa near Hammerfest factory. The project also has a carbon dioxide capture and storage facility located 2.6 kilometers below the sea floor of the Snøhvit oil field and a 153 kilometers long reinjection pipeline. The facility can store 700,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The project is led by Statoil as part of a consortium of eight companies. The consortium consists of Statoil (33.53%), Petoro (30%), TotalFinalElf (18.4%), Gaz de France (12%), Amerada Hess (3.26%) and RWE-DEA (2.81%).

The LNG processing project requires more than 5.3 billion US dollars (51.3 billion Norwegian kroner) in funding, part of which is provided by the Japan International Commercial Bank.

The project was approved by the Norwegian Parliament in 2002 (with some clarifications on the income and tax distribution provisions), and the construction of the project began at the end of 2003. The facility started production in September 2007 and will be used until 2035.

The new single-line facility has a production capacity of 4.3 million tons per year (equivalent to approximately 5.6 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas). Supply contracts have been concluded with customers on the East Coast of the United States (El Paso) and Spain (Iberdrola), with an annual supply of 4 million tons (the remaining capacity and any future expansion will be handed over to the French gas company).

The untreated gas reaching the LNG treatment facility contains 5% to 8% carbon dioxide. This is separated in the processing and liquefaction facility and returned via a separate 160 km pipeline for storage/storage under the seabed (2,600m below the seabed at the edge of the reservoir in the Tubasen sandstone formation with a thickness of 45m to 75m), thereby Prevent inappropriate pollution and allow Norway to comply with the Kyoto Treaty.

The energy efficiency of the liquefaction facility is 70%, which is by far the highest of its kind in the world (compressors operate at an efficiency of 230kWh per ton of LNG).

The management, engineering, procurement and construction contract (380 million euros) was awarded to Linde AG to provide key equipment for the LNG terminal. Linde uses the MFC liquefaction technology co-developed with Statoil (Air Products and Philips also provided technology for the liquefaction train).

The instrumentation of this facility is provided by Parker Instrumentation. Aker Kvaerner was awarded a contract in early 2005 (value estimated at NOK 1 billion) to perform important well completions at the LNG facility on Melkøya Island.

The contract involves Aker Kvaerner Elektro (for electrical and instrument installation), Kaefer IKM is responsible for scaffolding, insulation and surface treatment, and Aker Stord is responsible for managing this part of the project, which includes the installation and integration of liquefaction/process equipment into the island foundation In the facility.

Aker Stord won the main connection and installation contract on Melkøya Island in 2003, and was awarded a contract to prepare the island’s infrastructure and equipment. In the first half of 2006, Aker Kvaerner hired more than 800 people working on the island so that the project could be completed on schedule.

The core of the Snøhvit LNG facility, the liquefaction plant, is carried and operated by a gas liquefaction barge built at the Spanish shipbuilding group Izar Construucciones Naval (Dragados shipyard) in Cadiz. The value of the barge construction contract is estimated at 170 million Norwegian kroner.

The size of the craft barge is 9m×154m×54m. This craft barge method was chosen because it greatly reduces the need for steel structures on Melkya Island, requires a compact and efficient design, allows modular components to be prefabricated off-site in a convenient dry dock, and most importantly, It can save costs and have higher productivity compared with building a factory on site. After the barge was completed in May 2005, it was towed to the outfitting yard, and 24,000 tons of gas liquefaction plant process equipment was installed on the deck.

In July 2005, the barge was transported by a heavy crane vessel to Melk Island and installed on a custom-built dock. The completion of the barge on the island was completed at the end of August 2006.

Parker Instrumentation provided all instrument components and subsystems for the Snøhvit LNG project. They provided more than 1,000 H-series manifolds, 20 kilometers of conventional and thermal race pipes, and thousands of double ferrule A-LOK compression pipe joints.

The supplied parts are made of 316 stainless steel, and for areas where corrosion is the main problem (seawater cooling system), they are made of 6% molybdenum steel. Parker also uses its Supracase process to harden the ferrules of the joints and avoid the effects of corrosion. The instrument housing provided by Parker is weatherproof and equipped with an antifreeze system that enables it to operate at temperatures below -25°C.

The consortium needs four 145,000 cubic meters of capacity to transport liquefied natural gas to receiving terminals in the United States and southern European ports (the investment of these new ships is nearly 5.4 billion Norwegian kroner).

The Arctic Princess (launched in April 2007) shipped the first 145,000 cubic meters of LNG from Snøhvit to southern Europe in October 2007. After a 12-day voyage, the Arctic Discoverer berthed at the Cove Point Natural Gas Import Terminal in Maryland, southern Washington, DC, and crossed the Atlantic in July 2008.

It is estimated that 70 batches of LNG will be shipped from the Melkøya facility each year. It is expected to export 5.75 billion cubic meters of liquefied natural gas, 747,000 tons of condensate and 247,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) annually.

The total investment includes NOK 34.2 billion for oilfield development, pipelines and land plants, and NOK 5.4 billion for ships.

The Snøhvit project requires the construction of two LNG tanks, one condensate tank and one LPG tank in the natural gas processing complex on Melkøya Island. The corresponding storage tanks have the following capacities and dimensions:

DYWIDAG Systems International (DSI) is responsible for the supply and installation of a total of 1,650 tons of horizontal and vertical DSI post-tensioning prestressing and grouting, and the use of accessories during tank construction to enable them to withstand extreme conditions.

The weather conditions during the construction period are extremely arctic in nature. The wall of the storage tank was constructed with sliding formwork, and the performance reached 2 meters every 24 hours in a few weeks.

A particular challenge was to install 12 vertical ribs. The vertical ribs of the tank are typically U-shaped ribs or ring ribs. The ring reinforcement consists of two vertical ribs whose bottom ends are connected in a 180° arc in the foundation. Although the maximum tank wall height is 40m and the arc radius is only 1m, there is no problem in installing the ring-shaped steel bars by pushing a single strand.

In April 2005, the Solitaire laying barge began laying 143 kilometers of pipeline from the west side of Melkøya. The vessel continued to head towards the Snøhvit oil field at a speed of 3-6 kilometers per day. The laying of the main pipeline was completed in mid-2005.

On the solitaire, 12.2m pipes are welded together in a continuous process. These parts are sent out through openings in the stern of the laying barge to ensure that the main pipeline bends correctly during laying. Three pipeline carriers provided Solitaire with new pipelines, and they provided shuttle services between the laying barge and the Polarbase pipeline storage area outside Hammerfest.

The 28-inch diameter line pipe is made of steel and the outer coating is reinforced concrete. The weight of each pipe section is between 8 tons and 10 tons, and the main line is composed of 11,000 sections.

'K' Line (Kawasaki, Kisen, Kaisha Ltd) became Statoil's partner in the Snøhvit LNG coastal transportation project. In turn,'K' Line chose OSM Ship Management as its Norwegian project partner.

The project involves the transportation of LNG from the Snøhvit LNG plant to coastal cities in Norway and its neighboring countries via small LNG ships (which account for the remaining capacity of the LNG facility). The two parties have cooperated with LNG Norge (a subsidiary of Statoil). This idea was subsequently developed into a long-term charter contract for two 140,000 cubic meters (Moss-Rosenberg tank) LNG carriers worth 3 billion Norwegian kroner (337.2 million US dollars).

'K' Line and Statoil are the owners and operators of these vessels, which were delivered in April 2007. These vessels were initially engaged in domestic transportation, but their activities later expanded to ports in neighboring countries.

In 2004, Snøhvit’s partners also signed an agreement with Leif Hoegh and Co and Misui OSK Shipping Company to provide a vessel for the project within a 20-year charter period. The ship was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and delivered at the end of 2006. In addition, TotalFinaElf and French gas company have commissioned their own ships to transport their share of natural gas.

Melkøya's Snøhvit LNG plant ran into trouble during its start-up and closed four times after it went into operation in September 2007. StatoilHydro shut down the oil field production from June 2009 to November 2009 to repair and upgrade the cooling system of the onshore plant.

The shutdown on November 7, 2007 was caused by the leakage of seawater in the heat exchanger in the cooling system of the Melkøya Liquefaction Plant. The plant subsequently resumed production in mid-January, but closed again in March 2008 due to a cooling system failure, and then reopened in July 2008. The heat exchanger at this plant is expected to be replaced in the second quarter of 2011.

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