Vessel aims to recover ‘stranded gas’

PetroWorld, along with three international partners, announced recently that they are developing the world’s first floating, fuel-grade methanol plant at a cost of $700 million.

PetroWorld, along with three international partners, announced recently that they are developing the world’s first floating large-scale, fuel-grade methanol plant.

The $700 million plant will be deployed off Africa’s west coast three years after the project details and financing are finalised.

The plant will be designed to extract natural gas from reserves in remote areas and convert it on board into liquid methanol at a rate of 12,000-15,000 tons of output per day.

The partnership hopes to develop and deploy additional plants in appropriate maritime locations around the world that have ‘stranded gas’.

The world’s proven natural gas reserves are in excess of 5,000 trillion cubic feet. However, half of these gas reserves are ‘stranded,’ meaning they are located off the shores of countries where it is uneconomical to build liquid natural gas (LNG) facilities on shore.

The primary market for gas extracted by the vessel is expected to be in the US, where methanol is said to be increasingly in demand as a clean alternative fuel for electric power plants.

Project partners include Foster Wheeler Power Systems, Starchem Technologies International and Waller Marine. PetroWorld is a joint venture between PetroSA and multinational Transworld Exploration.