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Supporting the global energy transition: Offshore facilities

By Johnathan Green, Industry Capability and Strategy Lead

Global pressure to reduce carbon emissions continues to increase, yet demands for energy sources remain high. As governments tackle the climate crisis in support of the Paris agreement—and move away from coal (see graph below)—finding renewables and new alternatives is critical. In response, natural gas is becoming a preferred “transition” fuel.

New opportunities for natural gas

Recognizing the energy challenge will not resolve quickly, there is an opportunity for natural gas to meet immediate demand and help the industry move forward. Known for its versatility and reliability, natural gas offers many environmental benefits when compared to other fossil fuels. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), natural gas currently supplies 22% of the energy used globally and plays significant roles in electricity generation and as a feedstock for industrial use.

Historical and forecast share of primary energy, 1970 to 2040
Historical and forecast share of primary energy, 1970 to 2040

Historically, natural gas was economically unimportant, with gas-producing oil or gas fields located far from pipelines or located in offshore locations where pipelines were not viable. Developments in production processes, cryogenic storage and transportation, however, have created the tools required to commercialize natural gas into a global market that now competes with other fuels.

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)

The development of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage has introduced reliability in networks previously thought to be impossible. With the advent of large-scale cryogenic storage, it is now possible to create long-term gas storage reserves. These reserves of liquefied gas can be deployed at a moment’s notice through regasification processes.

Additionally, LNG liquefaction can be carried out both onshore and offshore. Due to its speed of construction, a lower environmental footprint (where long seabed pipelines are not essential), and its ability to access remote fields, Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) production is growing. It is becoming a fast and cost-effective method for developing gas resources.

Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility

Safer, More Efficient

With our ability to maintain an end-to-end process—from model development, wind-tunnel testing and project delivery—RWDI is well positioned to deliver innovative solutions to meet the scope and diversity of these offshore projects and support the production and storage of natural gas.

Consistent with the recent SNAME guideline update, “T&R Bulletin 5-04: Guidelines for Wind Tunnel Testing of Offshore Units,” RWDI assists clients in meeting new regulations, while also adhering to environmental expectations for offshore production, storage and transport facilities. With wind tunnels and model shops in operation in three different continents, RWDI is supporting this changing market and policies, while ensuring clients’ projects can efficiently and safely adjust to the overall global energy transition.

Contact us to learn more about how RWDI is supporting the energy sector and to better understand how the updated SNAME guidelines impact new natural gas projects. 

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