Liquefaction of natural gas begins with natural gas being pumped into the LNG plant via pipelines. If the source for the feed gas is an offshore field the length of these pipelines would vary depending on how far the offshore drilling rig is set up. As one can imagine, some natural gas reserves are very far off-shore, making pipelines as a mode of transport unviable. Another option is through carrier ships, but due to the large volume of natural gas, transporting it to the LNG plant is not feasible.
These problems can be solved with a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas plant, a mobile LNG plant designed to extract, process, and liquefy natural gas right above the natural gas field. Once the natural gas is liquefied, it is stored in a hull and carrier ships can pick it up and deliver it to customers around the world. With a FLNG plant, onshore pipelines are not needed to transport the gas to a plant for liquefaction, saving time and money.
A floating plant of this scale comes with challenges that onshore LNG plants do not have. Since it is not on land, the size needs to be reduced as much as possible but also have enough space to fit all the elements that are necessary to process, liquefy, and store natural gas.