Bahrain eyes big plans for eco-friendly LNG
Manama , July 5, 2011
Bahrain could soon cool homes during the hot summer months and run vehicles on environmentally-friendly liquefied natural gas (LNG), said an expert.
If everything goes to plan, the first output at the country's own LNG terminal could begin by the end of 2014, according to I M Skaugen SE group company Bahrain LNG project manager Hans Verswijver.
It also then has the potential to become a hub for the transport of LNG to regional markets, he added.
He said Bahrain's plans to take care of its energy needs by 2014 were on track after a National Oil and Gas Authority (Noga) tender was issued earlier this year.
'Ten thousand cubic metres of LNG, which adds up to six billion litres in gaseous form, is enough to cool 10,000 Bahrain homes for a month,' he said. 'In addition, with LNG being easily converted into compressed natural gas (CNG), it could run the country's public transport system and private vehicles, which is being already done in several parts of the world.'
Verswijver said LNG was not only the cleanest available and most environmentally friendly fossil fuel available, but also the most versatile and could be used to meet a variety of energy needs.
'The introduction of this fuel could revolutionise the energy sector and make the country have enough energy to fuel its economic development for years to come,' he said.
Verswijver said the supplies would also act as a back-up for planned projects and expansions, including those at major companies.
'The Bahrain decision to import LNG is a sound one because some studies have shown there could be a shortage for the country's energy needs by 2014,' he said. 'However, since gas is also being now drilled deeper at the Khuff gas wells, there could be a plentiful supply available anyway and quantities for imports could be less than those being envisaged.'
Verswijver said Bahrain needed a 'small-scale' LNG import facility that could be expanded as its needs grew.
'That is why our company, which is one of those that has tendered for the project, has offered Bahrain a solution that would cost at least 30 per cent less than what is likely to be offered by other bidders,' he said.
'The solution we are offering is to build a smaller terminal on reclaimed land and use our state-of-the-art facilities to transfer LNG from our floating terminals to the facility, saving on time and heavy transportation costs.
He said this would not only be cost-effective, but also mean the company would have enough time to build a larger terminal, if needed.
Verswijver said its bid would ensure all facilities would be in place by the end of 2014 or within three years after the contract was awarded. 'This is the time by when Bahrain is planning its first imports.'
Verswijver said whatever LNG Bahrain estimated it would need in the next few years may become an unrealistic figure if large quantities of gas were drilled from the Khuff gas wells.
'In that scenario, a very large terminal would not be needed and we could manage with a smaller facility and our mobile terminal solutions,' he said.
Verswijver said with the facilities in place, Bahrain had the potential to emerge as a distribution hub for LNG.
'The region is to economically expand rapidly in the next few years and three years down the line would be an ideal time for the hub to come into existence,' he said.
The official revealed his company had only offered to transport the LNG as well as build run and operate the terminal.
'We will not involve ourselves with where the LNG is coming from and leave that to the government,' he said. 'What we will do is to transport the LNG from anywhere in very large vessels and transfer it to several smaller vessels or to our mobile terminals and bring the gas in to the land terminal for distribution in a phased manner.'
Verswijver said by designing and building what Bahrain needs and having the flexibility to scale up as demand grows, it would require less land, which would mean less land reclamation.
'The market for natural gas is increased by this concept through distributing LNG from either an LNG plant, an LNG import facility or directly from an LNG carrier using a combination of both sea- and land-based transport to reach the end user,' he said.
Verswijver believes as the concept made it possible to distribute LNG in small- and medium-size parcels, it would create new markets for natural gas.
'These days, many global companies are allocating vast amounts of resources and are studying how to revolutionise the marine fuel market by having ships run on natural gas,' he said.
'A market with smaller demand is better served with smaller supply ships. This allows the receiving terminals to be of an equally small size.'
Verswijver said one of the key components of a small-scale LNG supply chain was the ship.
'The innovative gas carriers we design and build started to enter the market in January 2010,' he said. 'They are not only LNG carriers, but as the name implies, are 'multi-gas' carriers, being able to transport multiple types of gases.' – TradeArabia News Service