How can technology help to unlock the world’s gas resources?

Floating LNG plant

Global energy demand continues to surge and is set to double in the first half of this century, thanks to improving living standards and population growth. Many of the world’s remaining supplies of oil and gas are in harder-to-reach places. So, how can we adapt to this changing environment, and how can technology help us?

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Shell’s point of view

In the coming decades, more energy at a much-reduced cost to the environment must be found, and at Shell we’re determined to play a central role in meeting this challenge.

That’s why we’re constantly developing and applying new technology solutions that help unlock new gas resources, the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. For example, we’re now developing “floating liquefied natural gas”. This is a breakthrough technology that will allow us to process, liquefy, store and transfer LNG, and by-products, at sea, instead of building pipelines and onshore infrastructure. That means we now can develop offshore gas resources that otherwise would be too costly or too difficult to develop. In fact, we’ve just announced our decision to build the world’s first floating LNG plant, which will be the largest floating offshore facility in the world.  

We believe that natural gas will play a prominent role in our energy future as it is abundant, affordable and is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. And we believe that by staying at the forefront of technological developments, we can help the shift towards a better energy future.


Closed June 3rd
Monday, 23rd May 2011 09.19
There’s a central paradox here: the world’s growing population means we need more energy, but it’s getting harder to find, and when energy companies do find it, it’s not always where we’d like it to be! In my view, energy companies should be required to be investing (substantially and consistently) in the best technology to get this ‘dirty work’ done as cleanly and efficiently (and safely) as possible. Shell’s Floating LNG project is the kind of ambitious project that’s probably needed – now let’s wait and see if it can deliver.
Friday, 27th May 2011 19.16
Bill, I agree with you. The oil companies really need to make maximum use of the recent technologies to get things done.
Monday, 23rd May 2011 15.34
Is there any way to use this technology to reduce gas flaring? Also, where a lot of gas is flared (Nigeria, Africa) there are security problems. Is there any way to incentive (i.e. pay) the locals to keep infrastructure like this safe?
Monday, 23rd May 2011 16.29
The simple answer is yes. FLNG can be used in Nigeria amongst other isolated resources, but the issue is not technological - this can be done with available know-how. In many cases the issue is rather about politico-legal and financial matters. i.e. Can the resource control be sufficiently enforced by the country concerned to maximise their take and, having established that, is the project still financeable. The floating production facility has the ability to be relocated if the above conditions change or are non-sustainable or if they become unsafe.
Friday, 27th May 2011 12.45
Yes there is. Simply take a small quantity of the oil or gas produced and use it to generate sufficient power that you can give to the local community. This will ensure that the pumps stay running and the pipeline doesn't spring a leak.
Wednesday, 1st June 2011 03.42
Stevo: This is not about flaring. Flaring takes places in Refineries were Petroleum is produced from Crude oil and in the process, certain gases that cannot be reprocessed are flared for fear of poisoning the neighborhood. What is being talked about is bringing in finished product, LNG in a floating vessel and discharged into land terminals without having to build huge onshore terminals. This is a good idea and very safe, as storage of LNG will be on a floating vessel moored (parked) miles away from habitation.
Thursday, 2nd June 2011 14.19
I am not sure certain gases still need to be flared if plasma reactor technology is used, flaring is still the cheapest way to get rid of unwanted gases so cost is the real reason flaring takes place.
Monday, 23rd May 2011 15.43
You pose questions surrounding whether this is the best way to access stranded gas, how we should use technology for the energy future and how can energy companies take steps to help the world meet its growing energy demand. For the first question, the answer must be yes - otherwise would Shell have invested a vast sum in the plant? For the latter two of these questions there is already a plethora of information out there. Rather than Shell requesting more soundbites from the interested among us, (interesting though they may be), I would much rather see Shell apply its resources and expertise to structuring that raw information and helping the general public to understand the options open to them and the supporting choices that they will have to make. The Shell Energy Scenarios have been a very valuable contribution - let's have some more.
Tuesday, 24th May 2011 13.13
Hi Jonathan. As you rightly point out, at Shell we have been using scenarios for 30 years to inform our planning and help people understand the possible futures that confront us. Our latest report is here: We are committed to this approach, just as we are committed to discussing these important issues with our stakeholders across the globe – hence we welcome any future comments.
Monday, 23rd May 2011 15.55
FLNG is a good development, but it has its limitation, as the hull has to be cleaned from time to time causing environmental pollution, energy waste, and money.