DNV GL has developed a new unmanned floating LNG (FLNG) concept called Solitude for operating autonomously in remote offshore gas fields.

The FLNG concept will use latest technology to conserve energy and source power from fuel cells instead of high-maintenance gas turbines.

All equipment in the Solitude concept will be modularised and monitored from shore, while fault correction is performed through self-programming autonomous inspection and maintenance robots.

The topside of the FLNG will have a system of rails to function each process train, enabling autonomous robots to access equipment for carrying out maintenance.

"We were able to develop a solution that ensures production levels and boosts the economic viability of FLNG projects."

It will be equipped with wireless sensor networks to supply the information to a condition monitoring system, helping fault detection, proactive maintenance and repair scheduling.

DNV CEO Oil & Gas Elisabeth Tørstad said: "Solitude has been developed with maintainability foremost in mind.

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"By changing the focus from maximum efficiency to maximum reliability, and selecting robust processing options with built-in redundancy, we were able to develop a solution that ensures production levels and boosts the economic viability of FLNG projects."

The new concept demonstrates the way technological advances can be combined to offer a 20% reduction in annual operational expenditure (OPEX), while maximising the overall safety.

The requirement for more remote projects to overcome challenging cost barriers prompted the company to develop a new Extraordinary Innovation Project to explore future LNG technology.

As the concept Solitude is unmanned, the associated personal safety risks will be eliminated.

Tørstad added. "Operators are already controlling subsea installations and simple, fixed offshore installations from shore. Given the on-going advances in autonomous systems and remote operations, unmanned offshore installations are a natural development over the next few decades."