Exhibition & Conference

13-16 September 2021

Singapore EXPO, Singapore

Technical Programme

David Knutsen

Chief Technology Officer

Connect LNG AS

16:00 - 16:30

Thursday, 19 September 2019

T1.10 Case study - world’s first floating LNG transfer system

Primary category: Technical Conference - Floating Technology / Innovation

The UTS®, developed by Connect LNG, is the world's first floating LNG transfer system. The key element in the technology is a floating column stabilized platform that has superior motion characteristics in waves, and a vacuum mooring system for connection to any vessel freeboard, and aerial hoses connected to the LNG carrier manifold. The platform enables recirculation of gas towards the shore or the carrier, and supports vital safety equipment.


During LNG transfer, the system is unmanned, and all onboard systems are monitored and controlled by the terminal operator from the onshore control room. From there, the operator has full overview of process flow parameters, safety systems, and other onboard systems.


The first UTS, named «la Santa Maria» after the Columbus expedition, was successfully launched in October 2017, to first client Naturgy, and is now awaiting commercial installation for a project in the Americas. For a first period, the system shall accommodate transfer from a conventional large scale carrier. At a later stage, the LNG supply may come from small- or mid-scale vessels. With the UTS, flexibility in terms of vessel type and size is no issue. The unit connects to the freeboard with vacuum technology, and employs aerial hoses to the vessel manifolds, which ensures no requirement of modification to the carrier.


The first unit boasts high flow rate capacity through floating hoses of several hundred meters length. However, in order to maximize flexibility, the system is made ready for installation of another LNG line, which enables Naturgy to double the flow rate capacity if required at a later stage. La Santa Maria rivals environmental operating limitations compared to quay and jetty transfer, and is classed according to an offshore loading buoy standard by DNV GL.


The whole EPCIC of the system was performed in less than 9 months. First LNG transfer at Herøya in Norway from Antony Veder’s Skangas chartered vessel Coral Energy to Skagerak Naturgass’ plant onshore was performed only a few days after finalization of yard commissioning at Vard Brevik, proving the rapid lead time and quick and easy deployment that these solutions can offer.


The most important value propositions of floating transfer systems are:


  • Low and predictable CAPEX and OPEX

  • Easy permitting and minimum impact

  • Scalable in terms of flow rate capacity

  • Accommodates virtually any LNG carrier

  • Short lead time, fast installation

  • Allows relocation and redeployment


The UTS technology has been developed over the course of more than 7 years, building on many decades of Norway’s finest LNG, offshore, and maritime experience.