LNG Futures Facility Brief: December 2016


The LNG Futures Facility is the flagship project for the Australian Centre for LNG Futures. It will consist primarily of a microscale liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant capable of producing up to 10-tonne-a-day of LNG. It will be fully functioning, complete LNG producing plant with the purpose of fulfilling research, training and technology demonstration objectives. The LNG Futures Facility will be a national, open access resource providing direct benefits to Australian industry. By providing a globally unique platform to demonstrate new technologies in a live plant environment, this facility will enable rapid deployment and adoption of innovative solutions by Australian LNG producers, suppliers and consumers.

The proposed national facility will be located in Western Australia, tying in with its long-established and expanding LNG Industry. Its location in Perth will maximise its accessibility, and the proposed site at the Australian Marine Complex (AMC) in Henderson will complement existing industries in the precinct.  The facility will have benefits and applications beyond the LNG industry including the marine, defense, wider oil and gas, and resource sectors.

The LNG Futures Facility will create opportunities for SMEs, large scale enterprises and Research Institutions to further their R&D in an accessible, purpose built and operational environment. Having a national focal point for such activity will promote collaboration and will help transition Australia’s resource industries beyond the export of raw materials and into the delivery of knowledge, expertise and innovation.

Demonstration: the microscale LNG plant meets a significant capability gap in providing an accessible low-risk environment for the development and   demonstration of innovative technology beyond the laboratory. This is particularly needed for technology deployment within Australia’s resource‐oriented engineering industries, where the scale of capital investment required for plant infrastructure makes extensive validation of process technology prior to deployment challenging and costly.  For example the Plant will provide an accessible pathway for technologies developed by small engineering service companies who may be well aware of the deficiencies of existing solutions but do not necessarily have the resources or the expertise to progress deployment.

Research: In parallel with the microscale LNG plant, an industrial laboratory will operate with slip streams taken from and returned to the microscale plant. This access to live LNG fluids will allow real-world and dynamic experiments to be carried out, taking it beyond what is easily achieved in existing laboratory facilities.  The industrial laboratory will extend and complement a number of established research programs at research institutions throughout Australia.

Training: LNG Industry projections have significant need for operations, maintenance and engineering personnel over the next fifty years. The microscale LNG plant not only complements this but offers a completely new capability to existing training facilities that are currently limited to operations on inert fluids.  State-of-the-art instrumentation and sensing will produce unprecedented, real-time wide ranging datasets which will be available online to extended access beyond the site to classrooms throughout Australia and the globe.

High level costing and design has been carried out with LNG Futures partners Clough and GE Oil & Gas. Final costs are dependent on several design options but is estimated at approximately $30M to $40M with operating costs of approximately $2M to $3M per annum.  Investment partners in both industry and government are currently being sought to establish the facility.  On Final Investment Decision the facility would take approximately eighteen months to finalise the design and progress to start-up.

These three key aspects of the LNG Futures Facility means that a Special Purpose Vehicle is proposed to own and operate the facility, as well as governing access to and helping deliver training and research activities. The plant operator will be experienced in plant management and ensure operations are in line with industry best practice and meet all regulatory and safety requirements.  The governance structure will ensure research, industry and training stakeholders are represented to ensure balance between the three objectives.

Further detail, including a fly-through video of a potential version of the LNG Futures Facility is available at lngfutures.edu.au

Contacts: Training Centre Director, Eric May eric.may@uwa.edu.au | Centre Manager, Leigh Hucker leigh.hucker@uwa.edu.au

Download this briefing: