A new date for a planned first export cargo from Eni’s newly installed Coral-Sul FLNG production unit off Mozambique has been pencilled in as the Italian energy company moves to meet a yard deadline to order a second LNG floater.

Those working with the Coral-Sul FLNG unit, which is monetising gas in the Coral South field in Area 4 off Mozambique, said preparations are now underway to export a first cargo on or around 14 October.

One said all the cool-down work on the floating LNG unit has been completed and there is now LNG in the tanks. Production runs are being undertaken to bring on the gas processing equipment.

“It’s all working,” he said, explaining that the delays to the first export cargo were “operational” rather than “technical” and that that focus is on signing off how different processes need to be carried out.

In August, a first vessel, the 173,644-cbm BP-controlled LNG carrier British Mentor (built 2019), was widely tipped and appeared to be lining up to lift a first cargo from the Coral-Sul unit. But after appearing to wait in the location for some time, the ship sailed away.

BP is buying the offtake from the 3.4-million-tonne-per-annum floater, which arrived on site under tow from Samsung Heavy Industries in January 2022.

TradeWinds understands there is now some considerable pressure on Eni to start exports from Coral-Sul, particularly from its financiers, to prove the viability of its unit.

Coral-Sul FLNG unit
  • Length: 439 metres
  • Breadth: 65 metres
  • Height: 38.5 metres
  • Tonnage: 220,000 tonnes
  • LNG production capacity: 3.4 mtpa
  • Storage: 250,000 cbm
  • Crew capacity: 350
Source: Eni

The company is keen to move forward with a carbon copy floater, Mamba FLNG, to develop offshore gas reserves in the same area.

But South Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries, which built Coral-Sul, has given Eni a deadline of the end of October to order its second unit due to the pressure on its berths from LNG shipowners and other project business.

Those following the sector said the US energy major would be ready to snatch the SHI berth space if Eni does not manage to firm up its second FLNG newbuilding for Mozambique in time.

Eni is working in partnership with ExxonMobil on its second Mozambique floater, while the US energy major is also separately progressing its own FLNG project for the region.

FLNG units require large dry dock space which is limited. The historically high gas prices have made monetising offshore and stranded gas reserves appear increasingly attractive and there are several projects competing for yard space.

There are just three FLNG units in operation worldwide. Golar LNG’s 2.2-mtpa capacity unit Hilli — an LNG carrier-to-FLNG unit conversion — off Cameroon has to date produced the most cargoes.

Petronas has two LNG floaters working off East Malaysia and Shell’s huge Prelude FLNG unit off north-west Australia has just fired up again after being offline due to industrial action.