Centrifugal compressors to propel Shell offshore projects worldwide

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At the annual GE Oil and Gas meeting held in Florence, Italy recently, Dan Heintzelman, the new President and CEO of GE Oil & Gas unveiled an agreement to supply compressors and services for Shell projects worldwide over the next six years. This includes centrifugal compressors for LNG services and natural gas, refining and petrochemical applications.

In addition, the company will supply two steam turbine-driven compressors for the Shell Prelude Floating LNG (FLNG) offshore project in Australia. This will be the largest floating offshore facility in the world. GE is reducing the weight and size of the casings of its steam turbines and compressors for FLNG.

Facility off Australian coast


Marjan van Loon, Vice President of LNG & Gas Processing, Shell Global Solutions said the design and construction of the world's first FLNG facility was destined for duty 200 km off the Northwest coast of Australia. Some 488 m long, 74 m wide and weighing 260,000 tons, it will produce 5 million tons per annum of liquid products. 

The platform will be supported by a giant turret fixed to the sea bed. The rest of the facility will rotate around it according to wind and sea conditions. As it is situated in a cyclone zone, the platform is being constructed to withstand massive winds. Rather than specifying gas turbines, Shell preferred steam.

For projects in eastern Australia, Shell investigated five separate turbomachinery configurations for efficiency. Combined cycle plants with aeroderivative turbines, said van Loon, were found to reduce CO2 and had a better Capex than simple cycles using Frame 7s or 9s. This study led to the choice of LMS 100 GTs in a two-string concept for LNG. The first phase will comprise two 4 million tons per annum (mtpa) LNG trains.

Floating LNG first

A big plus of the annual meeting is the chance to gain an international perspective on the oil & gas industry; and executives from around the world briefed the gathering about ongoing projects, technologies and challenges.

Carlos Tadeu Fraga, Executive Manager for R & D at Petrobras, outlined aggressive built out of Brazil's vast offshore resources. Bjorn KareViken, Senior Vice President at Statoil, covered the revitalization of subsea processing on the Norwegian continental shelf. Dan Vardeman, Vice President of Worldwide Major Projects at Anadarko, addressed natural gas supply and delivery in Mozambique.

See March/April issue of Turbomachinery International magazine for more.