with the complexity and associated cost. There is also sufficient
experience and confidence in compressed natural gas (CNG) for
combined storage and pipeline solutions.
• Long, deep subsea compressed gas pipelines (the downside and
opportunity of not providing onboard storage).
FSRU designs come in a variety of shapes and sizes. This versatility
is the main advantage of FSRUs, particularly over shore-based solu-
tions. However, there are challenges for class societies in terms of
producing, revising, and adapting their rules and guidance to meet
the differing technical demands, namely:
• Gas ship with re-gasification facilities (which may work as a trad-
ing LNG carrier for periods of its life), conversion or newbuild.
• Storage barge with re-gasification facilities.
• Near-shore, at-shore, or at-sea locations.
• Mooring systems, hull and mooring design for tidal conditions
(potentially including grounding).
FSRUs incur much lower operating costs than a trading LNG carrier,
and the potential these units offer for long-term contracts can make
conversion an attractive option for LNG carrier operators.
So where does class fit in this changing environment and how can
it support innovative projects while not compromising on safety at any
stage of the process? Does the industry want class to devise new pre-
scriptive rules for these projects, or should existing rules be applied?
The operator will likely favor a long- term solution entailing minimal
maintenance and the lowest capex. To achieve this, it is necessary
to consider solutions that can deliver hull scantlings based on the
site-specific corrosion and fatigue characteristics, and process plant
that fully integrates both process and marine requirements under
one philosophy. However, those that must prepare tenders and cost
estimates for such facilities will have different priorities, namely a set
of prescriptive rules that can be applied anywhere and which cover
the marine requirements only, without the need to be site-specific.
The above holds true for all offshore projects but becomes more
acute when considering the complexity of offshore gas projects
which integrate gas containment into large floating structures for
specific field needs, and which must also support very large process
plants. So how should class address these requirements which are
not necessarily compatible?
Lloyd’s Register (LR) believes new rules do not necessarily provide
the most effective solution to highly focused projects, as they tend to
deliver a more refined vision of prescription in an environment where
the safest and most cost-effective solutions can usually be achieved
by allowing the developers a higher level of freedom when working
on innovative concepts.
How can this be accomplished? In LR’s view, the core elements of
its Offshore Rules provide a suitable foundation for offshore projects
with the flexibility to be able to be applied over many concepts. This
can be supported by written guidance for specific project types, for
example near-shore and at-shore projects which cover many of the
LNG-related export and import terminal concepts under develop-
ment. By affording developers the scope to explore concept types in
greater depth class can also support the process plant development
and integration. Again, this is not by prescription but through support,
underpinned by the suitability and performance of the supply chain.
The mantra of class is the “safety of life, property, and the environ-
ment” and the supporting skill set is evolving to leverage the new
inspection and monitoring technologies that are coming onstream.
With them comes the opportunity to look for new ways to achieve the
goals of class in a way that provides operators with more information
and less invasive methods. The result is that safety can be enhanced
while at the same time, the impact on facility operations can be minimized and integrated into existing integrity management activities.
Data-driven inspection and survey is perhaps the next evolution of
class in operation and supports both prescriptive regimes and risk-
based inspection philosophies. There will likely be a revolution in how
assets are operated over the next few years and much of this will be
driven by the change in the way the industry uses data. The offshore
LNG industr y has so far been at the forefront of this development and
that will likely continue as these processes evolve. •
Lloyd’s Register surveyor checking documents onboard LNG carrier Umm
Bab. (Photo courtesy Lloyd’s Register)
Lloyd’s Register surveyors walking up scaffolding. (Photo courtesy