A ceremony was held today to celebrate the undocking of the Caribbean FLNG facility from the Wison Offshore & Marine dry dock in Nantong, China, bringing an economic, game-changing project closer to commercial reality.

Floating LNG liquefaction and storage (FLNG) facilities are expected to significantly reduce the cost and time required to monetise and deliver gas to market. The result will be broader use of natural gas globally, a key component of the world’s need for a balanced energy portfolio.

The Caribbean FLNG project, which is expected to be the world’s first operational FLNG facility,  is being delivered by Wison Offshore & Marine (Wison) at its yard in Nantong under an engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning (EPCIC) contract with EXMAR. The unit comprises a non-propelled barge that will be operated off the Caribbean coast of Colombia for Pacific Rubiales Energy and equipped to convert 72.0 million scf/d of natural gas into LNG (+/- 500,000 tonnes of LNG per annum) for temporary storage and export.

EXMAR was on hand at the ceremony alongside Wison’s key partner in the project, Black & Veatch, who is responsible for the engineering and procurement of the topsides equipment as well as providing the company’s patented PRICO® LNG liquefaction technology.

Wison and Black & Veatch are now in the process of completing the commissioning activities on the facility in preparation for sail away and delivery to its location in Colombia by the end of the second quarter of 2015.

With the Caribbean FLNG unit out of its Nantong dry dock, Wison is now using the area for fabrication of its second LNG facility, a barge-based floating regasification unit for a 50/50 joint venture between EXMAR and Pacific Midstream Holding Corp., a fully owned affiliate of Pacific Rubiales Energy.

“This event is another major milestone on the Caribbean FLNG project that brings not only this project, but the entire industry one step closer to making floating LNG a reality,” said L. Dwayne Breaux, President of Wison Offshore & Marine. “By being an integral part of this premier project for EXMAR and their client Pacific Rubiales Energy, Wison is proving that by working with our key partner Black & Veatch that we can establish a cost-effective EPCIC solution to the market that can be repeated for other LNG developments.”

“Since inception, the team’s focus has been to set a performance benchmark for the industry and prove the commercial advantages of producing floating LNG,” said Bob Germinder, Senior Vice President of Black & Veatch’s oil & gas business. “The expertise and collaboration between all parties has been outstanding to manage the complex and challenging integration.”

“This is a major milestone in the development of our Colombian project,” said Nicolas Saverys, CEO of EXMAR. “The cooperation with both partners is excellent and we are very excited to bring a world’s first to the market when the first commercial LNG cargo from our FLNG project will be produced during second half 2015.”