Over 1,000 customers from more than 70 countries assembled in Florence, Italy, in late January for the 2012 GE Oil&GasAnnualMeeting (Figure 1). They were served up a mixture of keynotes, panel discussions and sessions on the development of unconventional energy production, the future of the global energy industry, subsea production, enhanced oil recovery (EOR), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), pipeline inspection and technical advances in gas turbines and compressors.

Tours were also available: The Florence plant,where compressors, steamand gas turbines and turboexpanders are manufactured and tested; the Massa plant, which houses heavy wall reactors, large compressor machining and assembly, turbocompressor packaging and full-load string testing; and the brand new Avenza construction yard which is used to assemble turbine and compressor modules for export to all points of the globe (Sidebar, Page 25).

Doubling in size

DanHeintzelman, the newPresident andCEO ofGEOil&Gas, introduced this year’s theme of ‘Leading Progress Together (Figure 2).

“The competitive and environmental challenges of today’s oil and gas industry are driving the need for increased efficiency, reliability and environmental protection,” saidHeintzelman. “Howtechnology innovation can help our customers achieve those objectives is a common theme winding through all presentations.”

His major announcement: The company is twice the size it was four years ago due largely to the completion of acquisitions such as Wellstream, Dresser, Inc., Well Support and onshore oil production assets acquired fromWood Group.

That amounted to $10 billion in acquisitions along with almost 20,000 more employees. This was done as part of a strategy to convert the company from a provider of turbomachinery to one that covers the entire range of equipment and services from upstreamto downstream. “We have a portfolio that spans surface and subsea, drilling, measurement and control, turbomachinery and services,” said Heintzelman.

He chose the meeting to announce projects amounting to $1.3 billion in equipment and services contracts. GE Oil & Gas will supply gas utilization technology for TNKBP’s Verkhnechonsk oil and gas field in Eastern Siberia.

This calls for gas re-injection into an underground storage area for further reuse, rather than flaring that gas. The company will provide a PGT25 gas turbine and three compressors, which will enable TNK-BP to increase oil and gas utilization volume in line with the current legislation that stipulates a utilization level of at least 95%.

The compression train is scheduled to enter commercial service in the summer of 2013. Part of the associated gas from the crude oil separation process will be used within the facility as fuel gas, while the remainder will be re-injected into underground storage.

Heintzelman also 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.

Further, GE Oil & Gas has completed the first phase of a gas turbine modular replacement project at the Qatargas LNG plant in Ras Laffan Industrial City. As a result,Qatar increased LNGproduction time by about one week per outage. This encompassed the major inspection of 15 GE frame gas turbines operating on Qatargas LNG trains 1, 2 and 3.A GE Frame 5 gas turbine has to undertake a major inspection every 48,000 hours and usually it takes 28 days for its completion. During a major inspection the machine is dismounted on site.

Learning from previous experience in aviation, GE Oil & Gas adapted the “Modular Replacement” method for Frame 5 machines. This maintenance strategy is carried out by replacing the entire engine instead of dismounting it on site. The new module is started up immediately after installation while the used one is repaired at a workshop close to the site as part of the scope of this project.

World’s first Floating LNG

A big plus of the annualmeeting is the international perspective.GE brings in executives from around the world to brief 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, SeniorVice 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.

Perhaps the most interesting guest presentation came from Marjan van Loon, VP of LNG & Gas Processing, Shell Global Solutions (Figure 3). She spoke about the design and construction of the world’s first floating LNG facility 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 platformwill be supported by a giant turret fixed to the sea bed.The rest of the facilitywill rotate around it according towind 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.

“Steam turbines provide the lowest complexity,” said van Loon. “We need a lot of heat on the floater, and steam helps us keep to a minimal amount of systems.”

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 LMS100 GTs in a two-string concept for LNG. The first phase will comprise two 4 million tons per annum (mtpa) LNG trains.

BP in deep water

At last year’s conference, BP sounded a somber note following theMacondo disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. With the lessons learned fromthat incident, it is heading back into deep waters with renewed vigor. Despite recent events, Kevin Kennelley, Vice President of Engineering and Technology for the Global Projects Organization at BP, explained the necessity of exploiting deepwater resources (Figure 4). By 2030, he said, there will be a 40% increase in global energy demand. Not all that will be provided by oil, but the industry will have to expand from 85 million barrels per day to over 100 by 2030. “Fossil fuels aren’t going away any time soon and deepwater production growth will be 6% per year between 2010 and 2020,” said Kennelley. “Ultra deepwater drilling (below 1,500 m) is expected to grow at 12% per year.” While deepwater provides 7% of fossil resources today, itwill growto 10%by the end of the decade. That’s why BP, with five deepwater rigs drilling now in the Gulf, will add three more this year.

“Unlocking deep water resources requires technological innovation and a new generation of equipment, such as pumps that will last five years on the sea bedwithout service and have far more power and pressure capacity than current technology,” said Kennelley. “We need the next generation to operate at higher pressures and higher temperatures than can be achieved today.”

LNG in the spotlight

Turbomachinery International has been attending this event for nearly a decade. Back in the early days, LNG was much discussed. But it largely faded from view in the past year or two.

If the presentations at this year’s event are anything to go by, it is right back in the spotlight — in particular, floating oil production, storage and offloading (FPSO) technology.

GE has just gained an order for an FPSO platform being built to develop the Guará Norte section of the Tupi oilfield in Brazil’s Santos oil basin. The multimillion-barrel, deep-water Santos formation lies 190 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. GE will supply the FPSO’s builder, SBMOffshore, with fourGELM2500+G4 aeroderivative gas turbines, two turbocompressor trains driven by GE PGT25 gas turbines for CO2 compression and six motor-driven GE compressors by the end of 2012.

The FPSO will work in water 7,545 ft deep. It is designed to process 150,000 bpd of production fluids to treat 6,000,000 m3/day of associated gases for CO2 andH2S removal and compression and to inject 180,000 bpd water into the ground. Delivery of the FPSO is set for 2014.

Floaters drew much attention, but conventional LNG was well in evidence. GE Oil & Gas has successfully completed testing on the first of three LNG compressor trains being supplied for the development of the Gorgon field off the northwest coast of Australia in water depths of 200 to 1,300 meters, which will produce 15 million m.t. per year of LNG. This is also the world’s largest CO2 sequestration project (Details of string testing of this equipment in sidebar).

This large-power, horizontally split compressor has a design pressure (43 bar-a) combined with a large internal diameter. Hydro testing of the casing was carried out at 65+ bar-a (1.5 times the design pressure). The impellers used in thismachine are developed for the range of flows andmach of themixed refrigerant duty and are able to guarantee operability and efficiency as confirmed by the full-load string test results.

The propane train composition is 20+ m long equippedwith a horizontally split compressor with an internal diameter greater than 3 m and two side streams, plus a barrel compressor for the high-pressure mixed refrigerant process.

In the last two years, GE Oil & Gas has received contracts totaling more than $1 billion to supply three LNG compressor trains, five Frame 9 turbo generators, six CO2 compressor reinjection trains, subsea equipment and services for Gorgon. The fields will be linked via subsea and underground pipelines to gas treatment and liquefaction facilities on Barrow Island, where the compression equipment will be installed.

GE also won a contract to supply LNG gear for the Ichthys project in Western Australia. This includes four 7EA turbines, eight MR/PR compressors, 10 PG25+G4 gas turbines and 10 compressors for upstream facilities. They will be shipped by 2014 and in production by 2016.