This paper is looking at the experiences, to analyze some major topics in order to understand trends and development opportunities for SSLNG and the relationship between them:
Appraisal of the main cost factors in the LNG chain. Looking at SSLNG terminals, for instance, some elements of the CAPEX are driven by components that are size-independent like jetty, tanks, utilities. On the opposite, the requirement of a SSLNG terminal offers potential for savings because some equipment or even part of the installation, typical for a "standard" LNG terminal are not necessary.
Full understanding of technology differences including the related safety issues. One clear advantage of SSLNG is a more simple construction. Some operators offer the opportunity to build these terminals in modules, remotely. On the other side, several aspects related to safety should be deeply investigated, like risks related to the LNG bunkering of the gas-fueled ships. This requires to assess the risks on a given port, against specific risk acceptance criteria, considering geo-morphological and meteorological characteristics of the ports and their operational profiles.
Adjustment of codes and regulations. Some Countries already developed specific regulations to simplify the approach and facilitate the adoption of SSLNG. Interesting examples coming from US, where the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission allowed SSLNG terminals to be developed without the long approval process applied to standard projects, despite the apparent lack of a specific simpler regulation. Also, The Netherland promoted the Dutch LNG safety program with the aim to set appropriate standards. Italy published the local application of the DAFI European Directive, that should open to administrative simplification and define as strategic the LNG storage infrastructures.
The discussion about the development of small-scale LNG (SSLNG), is ongoing since few years without relevant progress in Southern Europe, while in other areas in Europe (e.g. Netherlands and Norway), US and especially China, already developed significantly SSLNG infrastructure, and progressing quickly. Further some market analysis report that Regionally, Europe and Asia-Pacific are likely to emerge as attractive markets for SSLNG terminals in the next 4-5 years. The new applications opened new horizons for the LNG not only as alternate fuel to supply transportation industry but also as a tool to increase the flexibility and to reach new consumers, as well as remote areas not connected to the main pipeline infrastructure or ports. The topic is hot as demonstrated by the number of papers and events dedicated to the subject recently and planned for the near future.
As it also mentioned in DNV GL Energy Transition outlook 2018, European policies and target for the next decades will be driven by the reduction of GHG emissions, a transition towards renewable sources through the natural gas and more LNG import. More import terminals are also expected in order to provide alternative to Norway and Russia gas supply. These will also be a significant driver for the development of the more flexible and suitable growth in SSLNG infrastructures.