With global energy consumption demands expected to increase exponentially, the industry is turning its attention to liquefied natural gas (LNG) as means of fuelling the future.
The often burdensome costs, however, of recovering and transporting gas from remoter, deeper onshore reservoirs provide serious challenges for operators.
Now - buoyed by a number of offshore discoveries of major gas plays - the focus is shifting to the potential of floating LNG or FLNG. Technological advances in storage and production facilities add even greater weight to the claims that FLNG is the fuel of the future. While no FLNG facilities are currently deployed, the race is on, sparked by Shell's Prelude plans.
The debate will be further fuelled when global gas industry leaders share their technical knowledge and expertise at one of the largest energy conferences this year: Gastech Conference & Exhibition (www.gastech.co.uk) at London's ExCeL, 8-11 October.
The Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST) is set to play a key role at Gastech's Centres of Technical Excellence (CoTEs), a free-to-attend technical seminar programme featuring key issues facing the energy industry today and in the future.
IMarEST, the leading international membership body and learned society for marine professionals, will present a day-long Floating LNG stream on Tuesday 9 October at the CoTEs. Expert speakers from Douglas Westwood, DNV, WorleyParsons, Lloyd's Register, INTECSEA, J P Kenny, Technip, and Wartsila will examine recent technological developments aimed at overcoming the unique design and safety challenges posed by operating an LNG plant at sea.
Dr Paul Jukes, President of MCS Kenny and Chairman of IMarEST's Offshore Oil & Gas Special Interest Group (SIG), will chair the stream and will consider a number of pressing issues, including: FLNG's game-changing prospects for the LNG sector, choosing between liquefaction technologies, containment systems, LNG subsea loading lines, and case studies.
He said: "In recent years the number of offshore gas discoveries has increased globally, with LNG and FLNG becoming of even greater significance in terms of meeting the world's future energy requirements. But with land-based LNG extraction facilities becoming more costly, FLNG is poised to offer an alternative means by which to unlock stranded resources as the demand for fuel soars.
"The CoTE seminars offer an excellent opportunity for IMarEST to present its expertise and to be associated with the Gastech brand. Through the IMarEST participation at the CoTE seminars we see the opportunity to reach out to the industry, attract new members and create greater awareness of the work of the Institute."
Rustom Mody, VP of Technology (Completions and Production) for Baker Hughes Inc, will feature within the Unconventional Gas stream; while Dr Philippe Lebrun will be among the speakers for the Cryogenics CoTE. A world-renowned particle physicist, Dr Lebrun will talk about the cryogenic technology at the heart of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, and several other projects including LNG tankers.
Edward Fort, Global Head of Engineering Systems for Lloyd's Register, a speaker in the LNG as a Shipping Fuel stream, will discuss the challenges presented by new emissions regulations and rising costs of conventional fuels, giving insight into a programme developed by Lloyd's to answer the question - Is LNG the fuel of the future?
John De Rosa, the internationally-recognised specialist in the field of pipeline materials, and Technical Manager of Subterra, part of the Daniel Group of companies, will be one of several top line speakers in the Pipelines and Transmission CoTE.
The CoTEs involve the industry's most respected associations to ensure that sessions are both informative and educational. These include the Gas Technology Institute for Unconventional Gas, Lloyd's Register for LNG as a Shipping Fuel, the International Institute of Refrigeration for Cryogenics and Gas Processors Association Europe (GPAE) for the Gas Processing stream.
Created to deliver knowledge, education and awareness of new innovations and developments in gas technology, the CoTEs exhibition show floor seminars are designed to provide a platform for many of the world's most-respected industry associations and organisations.
To register for the Gastech Exhibition and to reserve a free place at the CoTEs please visit www.gastech.co.uk/cotes.