The Ichthys LNG Project
INPEX has begun construction of one of the world's largest oil and gas projects following the Final Investment Decision (FID) on the US $34 Billion Ichthys LNG Project in Australia on 13 January 2012. The Ichthys LNG Project is a joint venture between INPEX (Operator) and Total with Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric and Toho Gas.
The Ichthys Field is situated in the Timor Sea approximately 200 kilometers off the Western Australian coast and over 800 kilometers from Darwin. Three exploratory wells drilled in 2000 and 2001 resulted in the discovery of an extremely promising gas and condensate field with resource estimates from two reservoirs totaling approximately 12TCF of gas and 500 million barrels of condensate. Conceptual studies, FEED and ITT followed and development leading to sanctioning of the Ichthys LNG Project by INPEX and Total.
Gas from the Ichthys Gas-Condensate Field in the Browse Basin will undergo preliminary processing offshore to remove water and extract condensate. The gas will then be exported to onshore processing facilities in Darwin via an 889 kilometer subsea Gas Export Pipeline (GEP). Most condensate will be sent to a Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessel for stabilization and storage prior to being shipped to global markets. The Ichthys LNG Project is expected to produce 8.4 million tons of LNG and 1.6 million tons of LPG per annum, along with approximately 100,000 barrels of condensate per day at peak.
Production from 20 subsea wells in the first phase - 50 will be drilled in total - will be sent to the Central Processing Facility via 8?? rigid lines connected to flexible risers. The flexibles will be supported by a 110 meter high jacket type riser support structure. You see, no aspect of the Ichthys LNG Project is small.
Effluents will be separated on the Central Processing Facility (CPF), a semi-submersible floater. Gas will be dried and compressed prior to being sent ashore via a GEP. Compression will be from four compressors, designed for 590.7 MMSCFD. Following initial treatment, most liquids will be transferred from the CPF to the nearby FPSO for processing and storage. The 330 meter-long FPSO will be a weather-vaning ship-shaped vessel that is permanently moored on a non-disconnectable turret. It has been designed with a storage capacity of nearly 1.2 million barrels. Loading of two offtake tankers in tandem will be possible from the FPSO.
Producing and delivering North West Australia (NWA) deepwater gas reserves to LNG plants poses unique challenges. These include extreme metocean conditions, unique geotechnical conditions, long distances to infrastructure and high reliability/availability requirement of supply for LNG plants. A wet or dry tree local floating host platform will be required in most cases. Whereas semisubmersible, TLP, Spar and floating LNG (FLNG) platform designs all have the attributes to be a host facility, none has been installed in this region to date.
This paper will address important technical, commercial and regulatory factors that drive the selection of a suitable floating host platform to develop these deepwater gas fields off NWA. Linkages between key reservoir and fluid characteristics and surface facility requirements will be established. A focus will be on the unique influence of regional drivers and site characteristics including metocean and geotechnical conditions, water depths and remoteness of these fields.
There have been 17 FPSOs producing oil in Australian waters. These facilities have been chosen because of the remoteness of the fields and the lack of pipeline and process infrastructure. Storing oil on the FPSO for offloading and shipping from the fields becomes an obvious solution. Semisubmersible, TLP or Spar platforms show little advantage in such developments.
For deepwater gas developments, the product has to be processed, compressed and piped to shore for liquefaction. As host processing facilities, Semisubmersible, TLP and Spar platforms have clear advantages over FPSOs because of their superior motion performance in the harsh Australian metocean environment and other benefits such as facilitating drilling, dry tree completion and well services. FPSOs or FSOs may be applied for storage of associated oil and condensates. For marginal and remote gas field developments, an LNG FPSO (FLNG) may be an attractive option as it eliminates long pipelines and land-based liquefaction plants.
As discussed by Dorgant and Stingl (2005), a deepwater field development life cycle following discovery usually involves five distinct phases, Figure 1. The "select?? phase occurs after a discovery has been appraised sufficiently to further evaluate it for development. It consists of evaluating multiple development concepts and scenarios and selecting the one that will most likely achieve the identified commercial and strategic goals. Selecting a floating platform and its functions for a deepwater development is an important subset of the select phase and the overall field development planning.
The process of field development planning involves a complex iterative interaction of its key elements (subsurface, drilling and completions, surface facilities) subject to regional and site constraints (D'Souza, 2009). The objective is to select a development plan that satisfies an operator's commercial, risk and strategic requirements. It entails developing a robust and integrated reservoir depletion plan with compatible facility options. The selection occurs while uncertainty in critical variables that determine commercial success (well performance, reserves) is high. One of the challenges is to select a development plan that manages downside reservoir risk (considering the very large capital expense involved) while having the flexibility to capture its upside potential.
Liu, Zhen (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Zhu, Renqing (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Ji, Chunyan (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Chen, Minglu (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Teng, Bin (Dalian University of Technology) | Li, Liangbi (Jiangsu Modern Shipbuilding Technology Co. Ltd, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology)
Lu, Haining (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Xiao, Longfei (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Li, Xin (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Xie, Wenhui (China National Offshore Oil Corp. Research Center)
Qiao, Dongsheng (Center for Deepwater Engineering, Dalian University of Technology) | Ou, Jinping (Center for Deepwater Engineering, Dalian University of Technology) | Wu, Fei (Luxun Academy of Fine Arts)
Jameel, Mohammed (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Malaya) | Khaleel, M. (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Malaya) | Saiful Islam, A.B.M. (Department of Civil Engineering, University of Malaya) | Ahmad, Suhail (Department of Applied Mechanics, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi)
Li, Zhigang (Offshore Oil Engineering Co. Ltd.) | He, Ning (Offshore Oil Engineering Co. Ltd.) | Duan, Menglan (Offshore Oil/Gas Research Center, China University of Petroleum) | Wang, Yingying (Offshore Oil/Gas Research Center, China University of Petroleum) | Dong, Yanhui (Offshore Oil/Gas Research Center, China University of Petroleum)
Feng, Aichun (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | Chen, Zhimin (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | Xing, Jing Tang (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | You, Yunxiang (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University)