The construction of the liquefaction and pretreatment facilities is moving beyond foundation work and structures have begun to rise well above ground level. By this time, about 55,000 cubic yards of concrete have been put in place on the LQF and PTF sites combined.
At the LQF site, in addition to continuing foundation casting, work has begun on erecting the structural steel for the interconnecting pipe racks that will serve all the process equipment. First of these pipe racks are the utility racks that connect the process units to the regas facility, and the 1191 pipe rack, which is the main pipe rack supplying the three main compressor services.
At the PTF site, along with foundation casting, the pipe rack that connects the piping from the inlet 42-inch natural gas header to the booster and residue gas compressors is being built. Three fabrication shops have been enlisted to fabricate the pipe: JVIC in Freeport, F&M in Baton Rouge, and Moss Point in Mississippi.
Multiple suppliers were selected to alleviate any potential delay problems from unexpected production slowdowns. "Total volume on this project of the structural steel," says Project Director Taylor Auburg, "is approximately equal to 6.5 Eiffel Towers!"
In the marine dock basin, work has begun to construct the new LNG berth (Dock 2) accommodating cargo transfer facilities. After the recent completion of the dredging of 1.18 million cubic yards of material to expand the basin, Weeks Marine is now in the process of completing the jetty-head and current-diversion piles, and has started to drive piles for Dock 2's mooring dolphins. Foundations are also being built for the pipe rack that will support cargo-transfer lines between the Dock 2 and the storage tanks.
Construction of Tank 3 is also underway. Crews are bringing up the carbon-steel liner and the exterior concrete wall. When those are completed, the tank roof assembly will commence inside the vessel as well as the welding of the 9% nickel-steel structural plate that will become the vessel's interior wall. Finally, the head will be lifted and put into position using air pressure and then the concrete dome will be cast on top.
With work on both sites now substantially ramping up, several favorable factors have been aiding the steady, on-schedule progress of the project. "First of all, it's just sheer time," observes Auburg. "We have people that have been working in close concert with one another for five, six years now. Secondly, most of us on the FLNG side have previously worked on the contractor side, so we understand the challenges that our counterparts face day to day, and we understand the support that we need to provide them for them to be successful—and ultimately for ourselves to be successful. Third, we hit a sweet spot in the marketplace. When we started this project, we thought that there would be a lot of pressure from multiple other projects going on. With the downturn in the oil industry, we have not faced this pressure for the numbers and quality of engineering procurement personnel that we needed in the home offices as well as here on site."