A Rich History of Innovation
At ConocoPhillips, we are committed to our SPIRIT Values (Safety, People, Integrity, Responsibility, Innovation and Teamwork) to produce and deliver energy to the world.
While all of these values are important, innovation has driven our performance in the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry. We have a rich, 50-year history of innovating and continue to improve the Optimized Cascade process with every project. We’ve played a significant role in advancing LNG’s position in the global marketplace and are proud of our position as the world’s second- largest provider of LNG liquefaction technology. Our global reach and our innovative and pioneering spirit are illustrated in the chart below.
We began our Optimized Cascade process innovation journey nearly 50 years ago with the 1.5 MTPA Kenai LNG facility. We applied our design and operating experience involving cryogenic recovery of helium from natural gas to build and construct the world’s largest and most efficient LNG plant at the time. The facility was the first to supply LNG into the Japanese market and helped demonstrate LNG could be produced and delivered reliably to meet the energy needs of our customers. For nearly half a century, we have been designing, constructing, and operating LNG facilities with the Optimized Cascade liquefaction process technology and advancing the technology to better meet our customers’ needs in this constantly changing global marketplace.
Our innovative spirit has resulted in a number of industry firsts. We were the first to use gas turbine technology to direct drive the refrigerant compressors required to make LNG more efficiently at Kenai. It was also the first to use the two trains in one arrangement. We continued to apply that pioneering spirit and innovative approach with the first aeroderivative gas turbine technology installed and used in 2006 at the ConocoPhillips-operated Darwin LNG facility. This lighter and easier-to-change-out engine significantly improved the efficiency of producing LNG and reduced the environmental footprint. More recently, larger and more efficient aeroderivative gas turbines from GE’s LM6000 product line were installed at the Wheatstone LNG facility, further reducing the environmental footprint for producing LNG.
As shown in the Simplified Plant Layout, the Optimized Cascade process is simple. It is also flexible and easy to startup. This helps to minimize the risks of lost LNG production from unplanned downtime.
Optimized Cascade process’s two trains in one arrangement appealed to operators seeking to convert coal seam gas to LNG in Queensland, Australia where good facility turndown and high availability were key. We further improved the performance of the aeroderivative gas turbine engine in LNG service on Curtis Island by incorporating inlet air chilling, which significantly improved LNG production by minimizing the impact of ambient temperature swings — another first for the industry.
Our technology has also proven advantageous for a wide range of feed gas compositions. For feed gas supplies containing heavy hydrocarbon components that may freeze at the temperatures required for liquefaction of methane or higher concentrations of unwanted nitrogen, our innovative approach for removal has resulted in various patents. Each provides a “bolt-on” solution with a high thermal efficiency and an integrated design to remove the contaminants and withstand upstream upsets. With nearly twenty years of operating experience, our low cost integrated HRU efficiently and stably removes heavy hydrocarbons from a wide range of gas compositions that vary from associated gas to lean gases sourced from interstate pipelines. Our first NRU was installed at the ConocoPhillips Darwin facility in 2006, and has since been improved for our later applications in Australia. Our lessons learned have been captured in design templates and help reduce Front End Engineering Design (FEED) and detailed engineering time for future projects while maintaining the high reliability required by our clients.