FLNG Gimi's departure; Source: Golar LNG

New FLNG sets sail from Seatrium shipyard towards BP’s giant gas project

UK-headquartered energy giant BP is two months away from welcoming the arrival of a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) unit destined for its Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off the coasts of Mauritania and Senegal.

FLNG Gimi's departure; Source: Golar LNG

The revised project schedule for the connection of the FLNG Gimi, previously scheduled for 2022, was changed and extended by 11 months in October 2020. The work on the FLNG was 97% complete in August 2023, with the floater scheduled to leave the yard in September 2023. The final checks, storing up, and sea trials were set to take place in Singapore ahead of the unit’s voyage to Mauritania and Senegal, anticipated to begin around the end of September/early October. However, the trip to the FLNG’s final destination was delayed.

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According to Golar LNG, owner and operator of LNG midstream infrastructure, the FLNG Gimi departed Singapore’s Seatrium shipyard on November 19, 2023, and is now sailing under its own propulsion, supported by an escort tug, toward BP’s purpose-built Greater Tortue Ahmeyim hub offshore Mauritania and Senegal.

Karl-Fredrik Staubo, Golar CEO, commented: “Golar is pleased to complete conversion of the FLNG Gimi. We would like to thank Seatrium, Black and Veatch and other suppliers for another successful FLNG delivery. With Gimi soon on site for start-up of operations Golar will double its operating fleet of FLNGs and bring total installed liquefaction capacity up to 5.1 mtpa.”

The FLNG unit’s voyage is expected to take around 60 days, including refueling stops in Mauritius, prior to rounding the Cape of Good Hope, and in Namibia prior to its arrival. Upon the arrival of the FLNG Gimi, Golar LNG confirms that BP will be notified about the unit’s readiness to be moored and connected to the hub. This is expected to trigger the start of contractual cash flows under the 20-year lease and operate agreement on the GTA field.

“We look forward to having FLNG Gimi in operation, and to continued long-term cooperation with BP, Kosmos and the national oil and gas companies of Mauritania and Senegal. As the leading, independent owner and operator of FLNG units globally, we are committed to enabling monetization of attractive proven gas fields through our market-leading operational track record, attractive capex/ton of liquefaction capacity and amongst the industry’s most efficient emissions/ton produced LNG,” added Staubo.

The GTA development’s first phase is set to produce around 2.3 million tonnes of LNG per year. BP previously explained that the majority of the gas would be liquefied by the FLNG facilities, enabling export to international markets, while some would be allocated to help meet growing demand in the two host countries. The FLNG Gimi was converted from a 1976-built Moss LNG carrier to a floating LNG production unit. This unit is designed to provide circa 2.5 million tonnes of LNG per annum on average, with the total gas resources in the field estimated to be around 15 trillion cubic feet.

The Greater Tortue Ahmeyim project development envisions the production of gas from an ultra-deepwater subsea system and mid-water floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel, which will process the gas, removing heavier hydrocarbon components. The gas will then be transferred to an FLNG facility. The Tortue FPSO embarked on its journey to the GTA project on January 20, 2023, from Qidong, China, upon completion of a series of sea trials following construction at Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry over three and half years. 

The new FLNG and FPSO for the GTA project are expected to arrive at the project’s site in 4Q 2023 and the launch of the project has been bumped to 1Q 2024 due to a delay in the completion of the subsea work scope. BP sees the GTA gas development as “the biggest project” in its portfolio, which has “enough gas to support production for at least 20 years.” The project is located around 40 kilometers offshore on the maritime border of Mauritania and Senegal.