Home Letters Shipping rather than piping natural gas (LNG) to shore can fast track...
A letter written by Mr Deo Phagoo, P. Eng, on the 05th April 2021 under the headline “Using floating vessels for Liquified Petroleum Gas could be better choice than pipeline,” proposes the option of transporting the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) to shore by using LNG tankers as a more feasible and flexible solution, compared to a fixed pipeline.
As highlighted in Mr. Phagoo’s letter, a comprehensive cost analysis should be done to evaluate the economics of using chartered LNG carriers as compared to the fixed pipeline.
However, other than the economics, there are intangibles that make this proposal an attractive alternative, namely:
• Shipping LNG will spawn a complete new maritime industry that can feature a lot of local content. This venture of shipping the gas to shore to generate 200MW of electricity would require at least two to three small LNG tankers of about 5,000 -7,000 deadweight tonnes due to our draft limitations, especially to a site such as Wales. Our local entrepreneurs, in partnership with owners of LNG tankers in Qatar, which by the way is the number one country in LNG tanker trade, can do the chartering and ship management of these vessels.
The new Maritime Training School at Friendship, EBD would now have the opportunity to provide the specialist training to our seamen for the different positions on these highly pressurised and technical vessels, thus creating more high-income employment.
Additionally, the proposed fixed high span Demerara River Bridge would allow for unrestricted movement of vessels, eliminating delays now caused by the retractable bridge.
• As was pointed out by Mr. Phagoo, what happens to the pipeline after depletion of the gas in Lisa 1. Obviously, it becomes redundant and will have a decommissioning cost.
On the other hand, using the LNG tankers affords flexibility, due to its mobility to source the gas when Lisa 1 runs dry from other developing wells, or in Suriname or Trinidad, and there is no infrastructure to decommission. This is especially crucial given the lacklustre performance of Exxon in the ongoing drama with their ephemeral saga of the unconquerable compressor, which raises the concern of their reliability as the sole supplier of the natural gas to the 200MW plant project.
• Routing a fixed pipeline through the mouth of the Demerara River is risky business, especially in light of the GPL experience with their undersea cable, which is repeatedly being damaged by vessels at anchorage.
Given that there are projections for increasing maritime traffic on the Demerara River, this in turn definitely increases the possibility of a vessel damaging the pipeline, which can be very catastrophic.
•Constructing the gas pipeline will definitely cause ecological and environmental problems to the fishing industry, whereas most of the LNG tankers are powered by natural gas, which will be far more environmentally friendly.
• The clincher for using LNG tankers is that the new engines for the GPL 46MW plant presently under construction at Garden-of-Eden are all dual powered in design and operate on Fuel Oil or LNG. This is the ideal opportunity, as a pilot project, to operationalise the 46 MW plant using tankers to transport the natural gas. All that would be required would be the installation of the requisite storage and processing plant for the gas at Garden-of-Eden, and almost immediately the journey of producing 46MW of green power can commence.