Addressing the Boao Forum for Asia Resources and Energy Conference in Perth, Premier Colin Barnett forecast a big upsurge in LNG activity within Western Australia. Barely days later it is clear The Linde Group’s Engineering Division has tapped into this potential after announcing a new FLNG partnership in the region.

Linde's subsidiary, together with project partner SBM Offshore, have signed a partnership agreement with PTT FLNG Limited and PTTEP Australasia for the development of a Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility. The new project is to be based in the Timor Sea off Northern Australia and is planned to produce LNG from three gas field groups including Cash/Maple, Oliver and Southern fields.

Preliminary studies for the facility began in March 2011. According to Linde, the project will enter into front-end engineering and design studies by the end of 2011, while the final investment decision is targeted for the end of 2012, and first commercial operations for the end of 2016.

The facility will be located approximately 680 kilometers west of Darwin, Australia, and 200 kilometers southeast of the Indonesian coastline; it is expected to offer a two million ton capacity of LNG per year. According to the agreement, Linde’s Engineering Division will harness its proprietary natural gas liquefaction technology and build the topsides of the Floating Production, Storage and Offloading units (FPSO) including gas processing and natural gas liquefaction.

SBM Offshore, based in the Netherlands, is a market leader in the field of FPSOs for the oil industry. Indeed, upon the final investment decision, The Linde Group, SBM Offshore, together with PTT FLNG, plan to jointly develop and operate the FLNG facility for PTTEP Australasia, the operator of the gas fields. Through this joint operation, Linde hopes to gain wider access to the growing LNG world market.