Tests completed on first LNG compressor train for Australia’s Milestone Gorgon project
FLORENCE, ITALY — GE Oil & Ga has successfully completed tests on the first of three liquefied natural gas (LNG) compressor trains being supplied for the development of Gorgon, one of the world’s largest untapped natural gas fields, off the coast of Australia. GE is providing a wide range of LNG and subsea technology for Gorgon, which will produce 15 million metric tons per year of LNG and is the world’s largest carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration project.
Both performance and full load tests on the mixed refrigerant and propane LNG compressor trains were carried out recently at GE’s facility in Massa, Italy.
While MR train includes a FR7 Gas Turbine plus a Centrifugal compressor and a 24-megawatt (MW) electric motor, PR train is composed by a FR7 GT plus the propane compressor (63 MW rated power), the HP MR compressor and a 24-MW electric motor.
The low pressure mixed refrigerant compressor has the highest worldwide power per single casing ever produced, with a rated power of more than 93 MW. During internal tests, the unit reached power output higher than 115 MW.
This large-power, horizontally split compressor has a large design pressure (43 bar) combined with a large internal diameter that make it a leading technology in the industry. Hydro testing of the casing was carried out at 65+ bar (1.5 times the design pressure). The large impellers used in this machine are specifically developed for the range of flows and mach of the mixed refrigerant duty and are able to guarantee top operability and efficiency as confirmed by the full load string test results.
“The tests were carried out as planned and the units met all the contractual requirements and acceptance criteria,” said Riccardo Procacci, general manager, applied technology for GE Oil & Gas. “Everything went smoothly, with no issues. The test was completed four months ahead of the contractual delivery date of the units, and the compressor performance exceeded our expectations.”
The propane train composition is 20+ meters long equipped with a two compressors body: a horizontally spitted compressor with internal diameter greater than 3 meters and two sidestreams plus barrel compressor for high pressure mixed refrigerant process.
Compressor performances showed huge extra efficiency in particular on the last section.
The LNG compressor train tests follow GE’s successful testing in August of the first of six CO2 reinjection trains being developed for Gorgon. The project is designed to minimize CO2 emissions by injecting 2,420 tons per day of CO2 to the wellhead, up to four times more CO2 than any other project worldwide.
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, which is the largest of several LNG projects in the region that are tapping into a rising demand for LNG in Asia.
The project includes the subsea development of the Greater Gorgon natural gas fields located about 130 kilometers off the northwest coast of Western Australia in water depths of 200 to 1,300 meters. The fields will be linked via subsea and underground pipelines to gas treatment and liquefaction facilities on Barrow Island, where the GE LNG compression equipment will be installed.
“We’re very excited about our role in this technologically complex project, which will help to meet the world’s growing need for natural gas,” said John Lammas, vice president and engineering and technology leader for GE Oil & Gas. “Gorgon demonstrates our continuing commitment to developing and deploying advanced technology solutions for milestone projects that are shaping the future of world energy.”
According to the Energy Information Administration, oil and gas will continue to meet much of the world’s energy needs for the foreseeable future. The demand for natural gas—the cleanest burning fossil fuel, which plays a vital role in balancing economic growth and environmental responsibility—is expected to grow by more than 67% by 2030.
Globally, the net impact of using Gorgon LNG is expected to result in about 45 fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions when compared with coal. That’s the equivalent of taking about two-thirds of all Australian vehicles off the road.
The Gorgon project is a joint venture that includes the Australian subsidiaries of Chevron (47%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%), Osaka Gas (1.25%), Tokyo Gas (1%) and Chubu Electric (0.417%). The Greater Gorgon gas fields are estimated to contain about 40 trillion cubic feet of gas, comprising Australia’s largest known gas resources.
The Gorgon project underscores the growing role that GE Oil & Gas is playing in the development of Western Australia’s LNG sector. GE recently announced that it will supply two customized LNG refrigeration trains for the Chevron-operated Wheatstone Project, located 12 kilometers west of Onslow.