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Eni Orders Second FLNG From Wison in Push to Maximize Production

Wison shipyard, Nantong
Wison's massive Nantong module fabrication plant (Wison file image)

Published Dec 26, 2022 8:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

Italian oil company Eni has reached an agreement with Chinese oil and gas plant specialists Wison Heavy Industries to build a second floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility for its Marine XII gas lease off the coast of Congo. When completed, the new plant will boost the lease block's exports to three million tonnes per annum (mtpa), its maximum expected potential. 

Eni is starting small and fast at Marine XII by buying an older Wison-built unit, the Tango FLNG, from high-end oil & gas shipowner Exmar. Tango FLNG (ex-name Caribbean FLNG) can only produce about 0.6 mtpa, at the low end of the range for an LNG export terminal, but it is immediately available for the startup of production. Once mooring and commissioning are complete, Tango FLNG should start up operations in Congo in the latter half of 2023. 

Speed is worth a premium in an ultra-tight LNG market. Eni is controlled by the Italian state, and it has pledged to commercialize as many of its gas finds as possible in order to supply its home market with energy. Like all of Europe, Italy is facing record-setting gas prices due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and political tensions with Russia. 

To finish the commercialization of Marine XII, Eni has now ordered a new 2.4 mtpa FLNG from Wison. It will be able to store 180,000 cubic meters of LNG at a time, roughly enough for a full shipload. Steel-cutting has already begun at Wison's yards, and the second unit should be on site and running in 2025. 

Wison is a pioneer in FLNG construction. It may not have built the world's first FLNG to float out - that honor belongs to Shell's technically-challenged Prelude FLNG - but Wison did build the very first floating unit ever to produce liquefied gas. Its Caribbean FLNG (now Tango FLNG) completed a three-day liquefaction test at the pier in September 2016, nearly three years before Prelude FLNG shipped its first cargo. 

Wison's other main line of work is in module fabrication for shoreside oil and gas installations, including Novatek's Arctic LNG II project on Siberia's northern coast. Wison began work on that project in December 2019, and it delivered the first four modules for prime EPC contractor Technip in October 2021, just before the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Technip ended participation in Arctic LNG II this July and fully exited the project in October, citing sanctions.