For the natural gas industry, the future may be closer than expected. In an effort to push more efficient and economic development of remote offshore gas fields, one industry firm has released a concept for an unmanned floating liquid natural gas unit that builds on currently available technology. The intent was to foster thought and collaboration among developers, marine architects and engineers and other stakeholders looking out about 20 years. But realization of an unmanned FLNG unit could happen sooner.
“We are looking ahead to 2030,” says Richard Palmer, DNL GV’s oil and gas regional manager for Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. DNV GL is a Norway-based certification, verification and consulting firm with roots in classification of merchant ships. Those services have evolved, and now include a breadth of industries including offshore oil and gas and wind energy. “But we’ve spoken to some oil companies and found they are thinking along these same lines. The general consensus is 2030 may be too long of a timeframe.”