(EnergyAsia, December 9 2014, Tuesday) — The world’s first floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) plant has undocked at a Chinese shipyard, said China’s Wison Offshore & Marine and US Black & Veatch which collaborated to build the project for their client EXMAR, a Belgium-based shipping firm.

The companies celebrated the undocking of the Caribbean FLNG terminal at a ceremony held at the Wison Offshore & Marine dry dock in Nantong last month.

The facility comprises a non-propelled barge that will be operated off the Caribbean coast of Colombia for Pacific Rubiales Energy. It is equipped to convert 72 million standard cubic feet/day of natural gas into about 500,000 tons/year of LNG for temporary storage and export.

Claiming it to be the world’s first FLNG project, the two engineering firms said Wison is building it at its Nantong yard under an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract with EXMAR. Black & Veatch is responsible for the engineering and procurement of the topsides equipment as well as providing the company’s patented PRICO® LNG liquefaction technology.

The two companies are in completing the facility’s commissioning to prepare it for departure and delivery to Colombia by the end of the second quarter of 2015.

“This event is another major milestone on the Caribbean FLNG project that brings not only this project, but the entire industry one step closer to making floating LNG a reality,” said L. Dwayne Breaux, President of Wison Offshore & Marine.

“By being an integral part of this premier project for EXMAR and their client Pacific Rubiales Energy, Wison is proving that by working with our key partner Black & Veatch that we can establish a cost-effective EPCIC solution to the market that can be repeated for other LNG developments.”

Bob Germinder, senior vice president of Black & Veatch’s oil & gas business, said:

“Since inception, the team’s focus has been to set a performance benchmark for the industry and prove the commercial advantages of producing floating LNG.”

Calling it a major milestone in his company’s Colombian project, EXMAR CEO Nicolas Saverys said:

“The cooperation with both partners is excellent and we are very excited to bring a world’s first to the market when the first commercial LNG cargo from our FLNG project will be produced during second half 2015.”

Black & Veatch said FLNG facilities significantly reduce the cost and time required to monetise and deliver gas to market.

“The result will be broader use of natural gas globally, a key component of the world’s need for a balanced energy portfolio,” it said.

The company said Wison is now using the dry dock for fabrication of its second LNG facility, a barge-based floating regasification unit for an equal joint venture between EXMAR and Pacific Midstream Holding Corp, a fully owned affiliate of Pacific Rubiales Energy.