Mejillones LNG Terminal delivered

Published: December 9, 2013


Tractebel Engineering designing the floating LNG terminal (July 2011).

 

Creative, but above all dedicated, engineering of the 2-phase Mejillones LNG Terminal project (Chile) has been core to its successful realisation.  Tractebel Engineering can be proud of the vital role it has played, every step of the way.

THE NEED, THE PLAYERS, THE CONCEPT

When Chile’s northern region was left largely dependent on costly, diesel power generation, a fast, but sustainable solution was needed. LNG was the answer and GNLM (Gas Natural Licuado Mejillones) was created. Read more

A FAST-TRACK FSU LNG TERMINAL – A WORLD FIRST!

The first challenge was to build a working terminal and reception jetty in time for the arrival of a commissioned FSU, allowing GNLM to start supplying gas to its clients. Read more

ONSHORE TANK & TERMINAL CONVERSION

Respecting Chile’s high seismic activity, a permanent 175,000 m3 storage tank has since been built to receive (and potentially supply) LNG in line with GNLM’s long-term vision. Read more


  • Click on image to watch video fragment GNL Mejillones about Tractebel Engineering
  • Tractebel Engineering permanent team © Tractebel Engineering
  • Mejillones LNG terminal © GNLM

 

THE NEED, THE PLAYERS, THE CONCEPT

When Chile’s northern region was left largely dependent on costly, diesel power generation, a fast, but sustainable solution was needed. LNG was the answer and GNLM (Gas Natural Licuado Mejillones) was created.

SET TO GO
Gas Natural Licuado Mejillones (GNLM) was formed in 2007 – a joint venture between COLDECO (National Copper Corporation of Chile) and GDF SUEZ, to build, own and operate the LNG terminal.

As Owner’s Engineer, then Owner’s Representative, Tractebel Engineering has been involved in the Mejillones LNG project from its inception; delivering the conceptual design, procurement, process engineering, design reviews, while senior experts, on site for over 6 years, have provided project management and construction supervision, supported by experts from Brussels and Tractebel Engineering engineers, especially from Chile.

Phase 1 of the project was divided into two EPC packages. One for the terminal with Spanish EPC Técnicas Reunidas, working out of Santiago; and the other for the jetty with BELFI Chile. Técnicas Reunidas continued as EPC on the Phase 2 – LNG tank construction.

A BRAVE NEW IDEA
With the ambitious goal to send out gas in just 24 months, the decision was made to build the LNG terminal in 2 phases; with the construction of an LNG terminal geared to make use of a FSU (Floating Storage Unit), allowing time for a permanent tank to be built.

  • Initial development and definition of the concept by Tractebel Engineering in Brussels began in 2007.
  • Mejillones, as the only naturally protected bay on Chile’s coastline in this region was the chosen site – Zeebrugge (Belgium) was visited as reference to demonstrated to authorities that such a terminal would be non-polluting and safe to operate.
  • First works began on the remote, hot desert, coastal site in March 2008.

“From the start, as OE, the main challenge in covering all the needs of an unusual, pioneering LNG terminal project was to manage all the parties involved; assisting GNLM who were setting up as a new company, to integrating inputs from Brussels, Spain and Santiago with the demanding on-site reality.” Marcel Dewals, Mejillones LNG Project Director


  • Mejillones LNG terminal-LNG-construction of the tank (April 2012) © Tractebel Engineering
  • Mejillones LNG terminal-LNG tanker docked © GDF SUEZ/ABACAPRESS/RIBAS Ricardo

 

A FAST-TRACK FSU LNG TERMINAL – A WORLD FIRST!

The first challenge was to build a working terminal and reception jetty in time for the arrival of a commissioned FSU, allowing GNLM to start supplying gas to its clients.

A NEW PROCESS, A NEW BUILD
In 2008, a “permanently” berthed FSU, with LNG transfer via conventional jetty head to an onshore regasification terminal was a new concept. With all construction defined by seismic constraints and environmental challenges – dangerously hot sun, no fresh water, sand and sea – realising proven LNG technologies onshore required extra calculation and attention to detail; particularly process and piping integrity; testing, cleaning, inerting and insulation. The added challenge was preparing a jetty to safely moor and operate an FSU (over four years), given the new process and operational needs such as:

  • The use of unloading arms designed to resist high earthquake levels, with swivel joints to accommodate adjacent vessels in constant motion.
  • Fast decoupling ability to allow the FSU to depart quickly in an emergency or extreme weather.
  • 4 low pressure pumps installed (one per FSU cargo tank) to cope with variable send out flows according to Natural Gas client’ demand.
  • Modification of a high duty compressor with a return gas blower to compensate the FSU’s lower return of boil-off gas to offloading ships.
  • The technical interface of signals between the FSU (under command of its captain) and terminal operators and systems; process control, fire & gas detection, communication systems etc.

LNG ON LINE, ON SCHEDULE
Two years later, on the 23rd February 2010, the FSU “BW GDF SUEZ Brussels”, with 162,000 m3 storage capacity filled with LNG, arrived and successfully docked at the new jetty. A “welcoming” ceremony, honoured by the presence of Mrs Michelle Bachelet, (then) President of Chile, marked the event. Successful natural gas send out was achieved in March 2010.

“Given the many unknowns; the expert design review, process system calculations, piping design, stress-analysis and insulation expertise from Brussels was invaluable. Onsite our value was the ability to ANTICIPATE and help the EPC contractors to mitigate issues, well in advance of their becoming more time-consuming and/or costly problems. This was key to ensuring a job done well and on time.” Marcel Dewals, Mejillones LNG Project Director


  • Marcel Dewals, Tractebel Engineering Project Director © Tractebel Engineering
  • Claudio Eugenin, QAQC Manager © Tractebel Engineering
  • Roger Henneghien, Tractebel Engineering Construction Manager © Tractebel Engineering
  • Mejillones LNG terminal-1st arrival of “BW GDF SUEZ Brussels” tanker (23.02.2010) ©Tractebel Engineering
  • Mejillones LNG terminal the 2 tankers docked © GNLM
  • Mejillones LNG terminal - welcome ceremony (24.02.2010) © Tractebel Engineering

 

ONSHORE TANK & TERMINAL CONVERSION

Respecting Chile’s high seismic activity, a permanent 175,000 m3 storage tank has since been built to receive (and potentially supply) LNG in line with GNLM’s long-term vision.

A WIN-WIN PROMOTION
Impressed by Tractebel Engineering’s capabilities and methodology in Phase 1, GNLM revised the contract to Owner’s Representative for Phase 2. Working “as part of GNLM”, since October 2010, the site team has had full control of the EPC activities contributing to the project’s progress.

PULLING TOGETHER
Each LNG terminal project brings challenges; in Mejillones seismic constraints required special build consideration for the tank, resolved by Brussels’ and Tractebel Engineering (Chile) seismic experts.

Another key test was the integration of Phase 2 with Phase 1 – minimising the interruption of GNLM’s ability to sell gas. With a short 15-day shutdown agreed in June 2013, Tractebel Engineering, with Técnicas Reunidas, achieved all critical tie-ins/modifications needed to allow interconnection of the new and existing facilities, without deviation from schedule.

TRUST WELL EARNED
As of January 2014, the LNG tank will be ready for cool down. With a full tank of LNG to meet GNLM’s first gas demands in the New Year, the FSU will be free to depart and adjustments will be made to optimise the offloading facilities. These include an additional loading arm and connecting a 32” jetty-to-tank pipeline to maximise the speed at which future LNG carriers can be offloaded.

MEJILLONE’S FUTURE
Tractebel Engineering experts, who now have intimate knowledge of Mejillones’ layout and processes, have already begun studies looking at several different options for GNLM to operate as LNG exporters as well as importers. Watch this space!

Want to know more about Tractebel Engineering in Chile – or LNG? Visit: www.tractebel–engineering-gdfsuez.com.

Client Value

“Overall, I want to emphasize my satisfaction with the work carried out by Tractebel Engineering as “Owner Representative” of the project. They carried out exemplary work in the first stage of construction of the Terminal. And they are doing the same in the development and construction of the onshore tank; always contributing ways to address the difficulties of a project of this magnitude and importance”.  Jean-Michel CABANES, CEO GNLM

LNG SHOWPIECE

Since commissioning Mejillones Phase 1, GNLM and Tractebel Engineering’s site team have welcomed LNG investors from around the world interested in seeing a successful FSU-LNG regasification terminal in action. For more pioneering LNG references visit our website.

More information

Marcel Dewals – Project Director GNLM Mejillones LNG terminal project

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