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Yokogawa to become a major player in LNG

The instrumentation and control supplier cements its expertise in the liquefied natural gas market with a major local project win, writes Sarah Falson.

Yokogawa Australia and Yokogawa Engineering Asia have been awarded a major contract by INPEX Browse to perform front-end engineering design (FEED) for its Ichthys liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which will include new gas, condensate and LNG facilities. Once complete, the project will place Yokogawa Australia as a firm contender in the Australian LNG market.

Yokogawa Australia will participate in the FEED for a control and safety system for the new facilities, which are planned for the Browse Basin off the coast of Western Australia and in the Northern Territory city of Darwin.

The Ichthys LNG project is a joint venture between INPEX (76 per cent) and Total E&P Australia (24 per cent). For this project, Yokogawa hopes to supply a CENTUM series Integrated Production Control System, Exaquantum Plant Information Management System, Exasmoc Multi-Variable Model Predictive Controller, PRM Plant Resource Manager, OmegaLand operator training system, and other products.

According to Yokogawa Australia managing director, John Hewitt, this major project win, together with the company’s ongoing involvement with the Gorgon LNG site in Western Australia, will entrench Yokogawa Australia firmly in the local LNG game.

“The Ichthys LNG project and the Gorgon LNG project place Yokogawa as a major LNG player for the first time in Australia,” he told PACE.

“This project is a major win for us, and for Yokogawa globally. It has had a lot of attention from our regional headquarters in Singapore, as well as Tokyo. If all goes well, we hope to be awarded with the full equipment contract for this site,” he said.

The Ichthys field is located in the Browse basin, 150km off the coast of Western Australia. Discovered in 2000, it is one of Australia’s largest undeveloped gas fields, with an estimated 12.8 trillion cubic feet of gas and 527 million barrels of condensate.

The Ichthys field’s offshore facilities will consist of a large floating production platform and an associated FPSO for condensate processing and storage. These facilities will be connected via an 850km subsea pipeline to an onshore LNG plant at Blaydin Point in Darwin Harbour. Two LNG trains are currently planned for the Darwin plant, and each will have a capacity of around four million tonnes per year. Both the offshore and onshore facilities will have an expected operational life of over 40 years.

Yokogawa will supply engineering teams to work with the FEED contractors: AMEC in London for the offshore plant and JKC (a joint venture between JGC, KBR, and Chiyoda) in Yokohama, Japan, for the onshore plant. It is expected that the FEED phase will be completed and a final investment decision made by the end of 2010, with first LNG shipment to be scheduled for 2015.

Though Yokogawa Australia is relatively new to the local LNG market, Yokogawa is by no means an amateur when it comes to providing instrumentation and control systems for major LNG projects. Yokogawa in Singapore is one of the top-two LNG control systems providers in its region, and Yokogawa’s Tokyo office has had its fair share of major LNG contract wins, Yokogawa’s Hewitt said.

For Hewitt, his overseas counterparts have been instrumental in providing engineering support and know-how for both the Gorgon LNG project and now the Ichthys LNG project.

“We are bringing experience and expertise that has been learnt from other parts of Yokogawa to play in this country. The LNG market is not new for Yokogawa. Our company is a very serious player in LNG globally, and will now become quite a serious player in the Australian LNG market,” he said.

“This is a new direction for our Australian business, and we will be leveraging the experience of our colleagues in Singapore and Tokyo to expand our local LNG business.”

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