Title:
APPARATUS FOR OFF-SHORE PROCESSING OF A HYDROCARBON STREAM
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform.



Inventors:
Yao, Aifeng (Katy, TX, US)
Van Haaften, Ewoud (The Hague, NL)
Said, Michael George (Bangalore, IN)
Meek, Harke Jan (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
12/372577
Publication Date:
08/20/2009
Filing Date:
02/17/2009
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02B17/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARMSTRONG, KYLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SHELL OIL COMPANY (HOUSTON, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform.

2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units comprise one or more hydrocarbon stream liquefying units and/or one or more gasifying units.

3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more liquefied hydrocarbon storage facilities.

4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 3, wherein the one or more storage facilities comprise one or more LNG storage tanks.

5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more liquefied hydrocarbon transfer devices.

6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more well production facilities.

7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more hydrocarbon stream treatment facilities.

8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the jack-up platform comprises one or more decks.

9. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the jack-up platform comprises one or more barges.

10. The apparatus as claimed in claim 9, wherein the one or more barges comprise a decking portion for the location of one or more of the one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units thereon.

11. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising two or more jack-up legs.

12. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising two to six jack-up legs.

13. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the jack-up platform is movable between a marine-transportation position and a jacked-up operating position.

14. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, comprising integrated production, liquefaction, storage and off-loading facilities for a natural gas stream.

15. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, being relocatable.

16. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, further comprising one or more hydrocarbon drilling facilities.

17. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processing of the hydrocarbon stream comprises treating and liquefying natural gas to provide liquefied natural gas.

18. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the processing of the hydrocarbon stream comprises gasifying a liquefied natural gas stream to provide a natural gas stream.

19. A method of cooling a hydrocarbon stream, comprising at least the steps of: (i) providing a hydrocarbon stream to an off-shore processing apparatus that at least comprises: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units at least comprising one or more cooling units on the jack-up platform; and (ii) cooling the hydrocarbon stream.

20. The method as claimed in claim 19, wherein the hydrocarbon stream comprises natural gas.

21. The method as claimed in claim 19, wherein the cooling of the hydrocarbon stream comprises liquefying the hydrocarbon stream.

22. The method as claimed in claim 19, for cooling and liquefying natural gas to provide liquefied natural gas.

23. A method of gasifying a liquefied hydrocarbon stream, comprising at least the steps of: (i) providing a liquefied hydrocarbon stream to off-shore processing apparatus that at least comprises: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units at least comprising one or more gasifying units on the jack-up platform; and (ii) gasifying the liquefied hydrocarbon stream.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein the liquefied hydrocarbon stream comprises liquefied natural gas.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein the gasifying comprises re-gasifying.

26. A method of installing an apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, the method comprising at least the steps of: providing an apparatus at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform; transporting said apparatus across a sea; locating the apparatus; rooting one or more jack-up legs of the apparatus with the sea-bed; and raising the jack-up platform above sea level.

27. The method as claimed in claim 26, wherein the apparatus is located in shallow water.

28. The method as claimed in claim 26, wherein the apparatus is located near an underwater hydrocarbon stream source.

29. The method as claimed in claim 26, wherein the apparatus is located in shallow water and located near an underwater hydrocarbon stream source.

30. A method of developing an off-shore hydrocarbon stream processing facility comprising at least the steps of: (a) installing an apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, the installing comprising: providing an apparatus at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform; transporting said apparatus across a sea; locating the apparatus; rooting one or more jack-up legs of the apparatus with the sea-bed; and raising the jack-up platform above sea level; and (b) supplementing and/or replacing the apparatus by one or more further and/or other off-shore hydrocarbon installations, facilities and/or apparatus.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/029,694, filed on Feb. 19, 2008, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, optionally natural gas; a method of cooling, optionally liquefying, a hydrocarbon stream using such an apparatus; method of gasifying, optionally re-gasifying, a liquefied hydrocarbon stream using such an apparatus; a method of installing an apparatus for off-shore processing a hydrocarbon stream; and a method of developing an off-shore hydrocarbon stream processing facility.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Natural gas is a useful fuel source, as well as being a source of various hydrocarbon compounds. It is often desirable to liquefy natural gas in a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant at or near the source of a natural gas stream.

LNG plants are traditionally ‘on-shore’ using an underground natural gas stream. However, some on-shore natural gas sources may not allow location and/or operation of a convenient on-shore production and/or liquefaction facility.

Some natural gas reserves are also ‘off-shore’, but many such reserves are considered too small or too marginal or too remote from existing infrastructure to be developed economically.

‘Floating’ LNG vessels, often converted oil tankers, are known for providing off-shore processing of off-shore natural gas streams, but floating LNG tankers are still susceptible to the surrounding marine environment, especially wind and wave combinations, as well as requiring a mooring system.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,942,427 B1 describes a column-stabilised floating structure with telescopic keel tank for off-shore applications and method of installation. However, such a structure is still dependent on the marine environment, i.e. the winds and the waves, and still requires mooring.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

An apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform.

A method of cooling a hydrocarbon stream, comprising at least the steps of: (i) providing a hydrocarbon stream to an off-shore processing apparatus that at least comprises: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units at least comprising one or more cooling units on the jack-up platform; and (ii) cooling the hydrocarbon stream.

A method of gasifying a liquefied hydrocarbon stream, comprising at least the steps of: (i) providing a liquefied hydrocarbon stream to off-shore processing apparatus that at least comprises: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units at least comprising one or more gasifying units on the jack-up platform; and (ii) gasifying the liquefied hydrocarbon stream.

A method of installing an apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, the method comprising at least the steps of: providing an apparatus at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform; transporting said apparatus across a sea; locating the apparatus; rooting one or more jack-up legs of the apparatus with the sea-bed; and raising the jack-up platform above sea level.

A method of developing an off-shore hydrocarbon stream processing facility comprising at least the steps of: (a) installing an apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream, the installing comprising: providing an apparatus at least comprising: a jack-up platform; one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed; and one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units on the jack-up platform; transporting said apparatus across a sea; locating the apparatus; rooting one or more jack-up legs of the apparatus with the sea-bed; and raising the jack-up platform above sea level; and (b) supplementing and/or replacing the apparatus by one or more further and/or other off-shore hydrocarbon installations, facilities and/or apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Embodiments and examples of the present invention will now be described by way of example only and with reference to the accompanying non-limited drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a first diagrammatic side view of apparatus according to one embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 2a-e are diagrammatic side views of transportation and installation of apparatus shown in FIG. 1; and

FIG. 3 is diagrammatic plan view of apparatus of FIG. 1.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides apparatus for off-shore processing of a hydrocarbon stream such as natural gas which is rootable to a sea-bed to provide stability to the jack-up platform in relation to the surrounding marine environment, (except in extremis situations). This provides a stable non-moving platform that can have a deck and support structure for the one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units.

The present invention also provides apparatus which can provide stability for one or more storage facilities such as LNG tanks, thereby reducing problematic sloshing of LNG in a floating storage facility.

The present invention can also provide a convenient import and/or export terminal for a hydrocarbon stream. The present invention has the flexibility to comprise any suitable hydrocarbon processing units for any combination of processing, production, treating, liquefying, gasifying, etc of a hydrocarbon stream or streams supplied off-shore or from on-shore or both, as well as being adaptable to change its hydrocarbon processing units for one or more different operations in the same or a different location.

The hydrocarbon stream may be any suitable gas stream to be processed, but is usually a natural gas stream obtained from natural gas or petroleum reservoirs. As an alternative the natural gas stream may also be obtained from another source, also including a synthetic source such as a Fischer-Tropsch process.

Usually the natural gas stream is comprised substantially of methane. Preferably the hydrocarbon feed stream comprises at least 50 mol % methane, more preferably at least 80 mol % methane.

Depending on the source, the natural gas may contain varying amounts of hydrocarbons heavier than methane such as ethane, propane, butanes and pentanes, as well as some aromatic hydrocarbons. The composition varies depending upon the type and location of the gas. Hydrocarbons heavier than methane are generally removed from natural gas prior to liquefaction for several reasons, such as having different freezing or liquefaction temperatures that may cause them to block parts of a methane liquefaction plant. C2-4 hydrocarbons can be used as a source of natural gas liquids.

The natural gas stream may also contain non-hydrocarbons such as H2O, N2, CO2, Hg, H2S and other sulphur compounds. If desired, the hydrocarbon stream containing the natural gas may be pre-treated before involvement in a hydrocarbon cooling process, or before use elsewhere and/or separately. This pre-treatment may comprise reduction and/or removal of non-hydrocarbons such as CO2 and H2S or other steps such as early cooling, pre-pressurizing. As these steps are well known to the person skilled in the art, their mechanisms are not further discussed here.

Preferably, a hydrocarbon stream intended to be liquefied undergoes at least the minimum pre-treatment required to subsequently liquefy the hydrocarbon stream. Such a requirement for liquefying natural gas is known in the art.

A liquefied hydrocarbon stream intended to be gasified or regasified by the present invention may be any suitable stream, usually LNG, for subsequent use as a gas, either for supply to a particular user such as a power station or industrial facility, or piped to a gas network for distribution. Such subsequent use is usually on-shore.

FIG. 1 shows a first diagrammatic side view of apparatus for on-shore processing a hydrocarbon stream according to one embodiment of the present invention.

The apparatus 8 comprises a jack-up platform 10 comprising one or more decks 32, and four jack-up legs 34.

A jack-up platform suitable for the present invention may have any number of jack-up legs, based on the stability and rigidity required, and the location of the apparatus. Commonly, a jack-up platform has a symmetrical number of jack-up legs, which may be an even number and/or evenly distributed around the circumference of the jack-up platform and/or extending through the jack-up platform.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the jack-up platform 10 is rectilinear, such as a square or a rectangle, and is attached to two to six jack-up legs 34, preferably four jack-up legs 34, evenly located on opposite sides of the jack-up platform 10. Jack-up legs can have any suitable construction, two known examples of which are cylindrical and trussed.

The jack-up platform 10 may comprise one or more barges. A barge is generally a floating structure, commonly comprising steel and/or concrete, and optionally having a relatively flat deck or decking portion for the location of one or more processing units thereon.

A barge may also comprise one or more spaces or locations within itself, for the location of one or more other units or facilities, such as one or more storage tanks, tanks for ballasting water, machinery etc.

One deck 32 of the jack-up platform 10 preferably provides the footprint and support for ‘topside’ production, processing and/or liquefaction facilities for a hydrocarbon stream on one or more levels, as well as utilities equipment, offloading facilities, control instruments and living quarters.

The jack-up platform 10 may have any suitable size, shape and design. An example of a rectangular jack-up platform can have a length of over 100 m, a width of 50-100 m and a depth of 10-30 m.

The jack-up platform 10 can have a footprint of at least 1000-5000 m2, and can extend beyond 10,000 or 20,000 m2.

The length of the jack-up legs 34 may be any suitable dimension whilst still providing stability and a raised-up platform 10 above a sea level 52. The apparatus 8 may be used in seawater depths from as little as 5, 10 or 20 metres, extending to sea depths of 80, 100, 150 or even 200 metres. Any of these depths may also define the term “shallow water”, which is the usual location of use of the apparatus of the present invention. That is, the apparatus of the present invention may be transportable over any water or marine surface of minimal depth where the jack-up legs are raised, and then is usually located for installation and operation in shallow water.

The suitability of apparatus 8 of the present invention can be determined by analysis of the sea-bed 6, and the depth of water at the relevant operating location.

The or each jack-up leg 34 is preferably anchored, for example welded, to the jack-up platform 10. Each jack-up leg 34 preferably includes a movement mechanism. Preferably, the apparatus 8 also includes one or more corresponding movement mechanisms, such as a jacking system known in the art, able to move the or each jack-up leg 34 relative to the jack-up platform 10. Known jacking systems include the use of cables, hydraulic ram and pistons, and/or rack and pinion systems.

According to one embodiment of the present invention, the or each jack-up leg 34 is movable relative to the jack-up platform 10 between a marine-transportation position 36 and a sea-bed routed position 38. This is shown in more detail in FIGS. 2a-d.

In FIGS. 2a-c there is shown the jack-up legs 34 in a marine-transportation position 36, generally extending upwardly from the jack-up platform 10 during construction and transportation of the apparatus 8 from an on-shore location shown in FIG. 2a to an operating location shown in FIG. 2c. At the operating position 36, the jack-up legs 34 are moved downwardly to the sea-bed 6, and a portion of each jack-up leg is insertable into the sea-bed 6 so as to be rooted therewith, i.e. sufficiently fixed to the seabed 6. Preferably, each jack-up leg 34 supports an equal load. The base of each jack-up leg 34 may comprise a foot. Suitable feet include mats and spudcans 35. Mat footings are generally relatively flat, and are usually used to set up a jack-up leg in a soft soil area with a low-bearing capacity. Spudcan feet 35 generally involve a tapered portion, better able to penetrate a sea-bed, and/or accommodate uneven sea-beds.

With rooting of the jack-up legs 34 into the sea-bed 6, continued relative movement between the jack-up legs 34 and the jack-up platform 10 provides raising of the jack-up platform 10 above sea level 52 to an operating position 40, as shown in FIG. 2e.

Thus, FIGS. 2a-e show the general principles of installing apparatus as herein defined, comprising at least the steps of:

providing the apparatus 8;

transporting said apparatus 8 across a sea 54;

locating the apparatus 8 to a suitable operating location, such as near to an underwater hydrocarbon stream source or on-shore connection (not shown);

rooting the jack-up legs 34 on the apparatus 8 with the sea-bed 6; and

raising the jack-up platform 10 above sea level 52.

Once installed, the apparatus can use one or more hydrocarbon stream processing units 12 on the jack-up platform 10.

FIG. 3 shows by way of example only and without limitation various hydrocarbon stream processing units 12 that are locatable on and/or in and/or with the jack-up platform 10. Such processing units 12 can be related or connected by a central pipework system or network 26.

Processing units 12 suitable for the present invention include any hydrocarbon stream cooling and/or liquefying units, suitably located in a dedicated area 13 on the deck 32. They can include any number, type and configuration of apparatus, devices, units and components able to cool and/or liquefy a hydrocarbon stream such as natural gas. Cooling and liquefying a hydrocarbon stream such as natural gas is known in the art, and is not further described here. Such apparatus may include one or more heat exchangers, refrigerant circuits or systems, compressors, expanders, valves, separators, pumps, associated piping, etc, all of which are known in the art, and which are not further described herein.

One or more of the hydrocarbon stream liquefying units 13 may be provided in one or more liquefying trains in a manner known in the art, optionally running partly or wholly in parallel, also known in the art.

The or each hydrocarbon stream liquefying unit 13 may have any suitable capacity, ranging from below 1 MTPA to above 1 MTPA, such as in the range 1-3 MTPA.

Power required for at least one of the hydrocarbon stream processing units 12, such as a liquefying unit 13, includes one or more generators, turbines, etc known in the art, which are also locatable on and/in the jack-up platform 10, for example in a dedicated area 16 on the deck 32. One or more power generators such as gas turbines, steam turbines, are able to provide power to one or more units, facilities, devices, etc. on or in the apparatus 8.

The apparatus 8 may include one or more liquefied hydrocarbon storage facilities 14, such as one or more LNG tanks, located on and/in the jack-up platform 10.

The one or more storage facilities 14 may have any capacity or volume, being above or below 10,000 m3, which is able to store a liquefied hydrocarbon such as LNG, preferably at or near atmospheric pressure. The volume or capacity of the storage facilities may be related to the MTPA of the or each hydrocarbon stream liquefying unit on the jack-up platform 10.

Alternatively and/or additionally, one or more separate storage facilities (not shown) may be provided near the apparatus 8, such as one or more associated an/or neighbouring floating storage facilities, such as a floating LNG tanker.

The apparatus 8 may include one or more offloading areas 24, and one or more liquefied hydrocarbon transfer devices 42 such as one or more known off-loading systems including a tandem soft yoke mooring and off-loading (SYMO) system. The apparatus 8 may also have side-by-side mooring, and one or more loading arms. The apparatus may also have one or more boom-to-tanker (BTT) systems and/or one or more bug sweep systems, all of which are known in the art.

The or each liquefied hydrocarbon transfer device 42 may include one or more flexible hoses or piping, intended to provide a continuous fluid path between the apparatus 8, in particular one or more of any liquefied hydrocarbon storage facilities 14, and a nearby vessel such as an LNG tanker (not shown).

The apparatus 8 preferably comprises one or more well production facilities. The apparatus may include a dry-well access 18 for gas production from one or more wells.

Any separation of water and/or condensate from a hydrocarbon stream can be carried out by one more hydrocarbon stream treatment facilities, such as: deep drying, mercury removal, acid gas removal, phase separators, CO2 removal. In addition, there may be one or more stabilization and/or fractionation processes such as for NGL recovery and stabilization of a crude stream such as crude oil, etc.

Processes and apparatus for such treatments are known in the art. Examples shown in FIG. 3 include a deep drying and Hg removal unit 20, and an acid gas removal unit 22.

The apparatus 8 of the present invention can be constructed and/or completed on-shore, or at least at or near a shore facility such as a dock. One or more of the hydrocarbon stream processing units 12 could be assembled into suitably sized modules and/or on skids to facilitate their commissioning and/or installation and/or assembly with the apparatus 8.

For example, FIG. 2a shows the apparatus 8 at an on-shore location 53 next to a marine environment such as a sea 54. FIG. 2b then shows the apparatus 8 re-located into the sea 54, such that it is in a marine-transportation position 36. FIG. 2c shows the marine transportation of the apparatus 8 using one or more tugs 56 in a manner known in the art.

Upon arrival at a suitable operating location or target site, such as near an on-shore source, an on-shore supply line, or an underwater hydrocarbon stream source (not shown), the jack-up platform 10 can be held in position using anchored or free-running tugs, whilst the jack-up legs 34 are lowered to the sea-bed 6 as described hereinabove. Once the bottoms of the jack-up legs 34 are rooted to the sea-bed 6 as described hereinabove, and as shown in FIG. 2d, the jack-up platform 10 can be raised to a jacked-up operating position 40 such that the jack-up platform 10 is separate from the sea level 52, and is now prepared for one or more hydrocarbon stream processes.

The apparatus 8 of the present invention is relocatable, by reversing the operations as described above in relation to FIGS. 2e to 2c, and using one or more tugs 56 to relocate the apparatus 8 to a different target site, such as near another underwater hydrocarbon stream source.

The apparatus 8 may include one or more ballast tanks, production and accommodation facilities, and/or one or more hydrocarbon drilling facilities 46, as well as other utilities and/or facilities usual, expected and/or required for a marine-environment location.

Hydrocarbon drilling facilities 46 provide a drilling functionality to the apparatus of the present invention, which may be permanently or temporarily a part of the apparatus, such as a conjoined unit. Thus, the present invention may also provide a hydrocarbon drilling operation, as well as integral processing of the hydrocarbon stream on a stable but marine-based platform.

It is a particular advantage of the present invention that the apparatus can be rapidly transported/located/deployed/operated at a target site. In one way, the present invention provides a ‘turn-key’ apparatus ready for installation and operation at short notice.

It is another advantage of the present invention that the apparatus can be constructed and/or completed at a convenient location anywhere around the world, generally at a convenient marine-connected location, and then transported to the intended operating site. Such a convenient construction location can be remote from the operating site. This overcomes the problem of having to construct and/or complete the hydrocarbon processing apparatus, and/or any units, facilities, etc., therefor at the intended operating site.

It is another advantage of the present invention that it is useable in a number of different locations, such that it need not be redundant once processing of a hydrocarbon stream at a particular location is no longer required.

It is another advantage of the present invention that it provides a stable platform to which one or more further or other apparatus, units, installations and/or devices can be based and/or connected to. This includes supplementing the apparatus of the present invention with one or more floating, jack-up or more permanent apparatus, installations or facilities where it is desired to increase the hydrocarbon processing.

The present invention also provides a suitable initial offshore hydrocarbon processing facility, which can be easily and rapidly replaced and/or superseded by one or more other offshore processing facilities, being floating, jack-up and/or permanent, where a changed or different operation (usually increased production) is desired.

In this way, the apparatus of the present invention provides an initial location and/or base from which development of the off-shore processing can be considered, prior to committing and/or requiring further apparatus, etc. Such a situation may be due to the development of a hydrocarbon stream source over time, from an initial production volume, to a greater and/or more long term production volume requiring a more permanent processing facility.

Thus, the present invention also provides a method of developing an off-shore hydrocarbon stream processing facility comprising at least installing apparatus as herein defined, and supplementing and/or replacing the apparatus by one or more other installations. Such a method provides a modular approach to the development of an off-shore hydrocarbon processing facility.

Where the apparatus comprises one or more hydrocarbon stream gasifying or re-gasifying units, the apparatus operates as a liquid hydrocarbon import terminal, able to be provided with a liquefied hydrocarbon such as LNG, for example from a tanker, and to gasify or re-gasify the liquefied hydrocarbon off-shore. The gas can then be supplied to one or more on-shore facilities such as one or more power generators and/or industrial facilities and/or gas distribution networks and/or one or more long distance supply pipelines.

The apparatus of the present invention preferably provides integrated production, liquefaction, storage and/or off-loading facilities for a natural gas stream. As a result, natural gas production and liquefaction can be conducted simultaneously, which is important for fast-track developments without substantial pipeline cost. It also allows production of a hydrocarbon stream directly from a source or sources such as an undersea reservoir, and for liquefaction ready for export.

The apparatus of the present invention preferably also provides integrated gasification and off-loading facilities for a liquefied hydrocarbon stream such as LNG. As a result, natural gas regassification can be conducted for on-shore supply without requiring a fixed on-shore facility.

The apparatus of the present invention preferably has a fixed, non-moving deck able to accommodate the processing facilities and a loading system; hence it is less sensitive to weather-imposed marine and operational downtime than for example a floating solution.

The present invention can also allow dry-well access, eliminating the need for a mooring system, and reduces the investment for subsea infrastructure. The present invention can also minimise offshore installation and commissioning work, and could be built and integrated onshore as one complete unit before marine transportation and installation.

The apparatus of the present invention is preferably is self-installing, as a barge deck provides the necessary buoyancy during towage from site to site offering minimal installation cost.

The present invention is preferably also entirely removable, making the environmental impact and abandonment cost minimal.

In one embodiment of the present invention, the apparatus essentially consists of a floating steel barge that can be jacked-up out of the water along four trussed legs. The deck of the barge accommodates the gas production and liquefaction equipment, utilities, power generation facility, living quarters, as well as a tandem mooring and offloading system. It can also house natural gas production wells and one or more onboard liquefaction plants. The barge could also have an integrated membrane LNG storage tank and it is intended to receive and berth LNG carriers.

As a stand-alone solution, the present invention has embodiments to provide integrated functions encompassing one or more of:

1) Well production: It can have dry access to gas production wells. Gas/liquid can be brought onboard via flow pipe and metered.

2) Gas reception: Gas, hydrocarbon liquids and corrosion inhibitor and/or any heavy liquid hydrocarbons can be separated. Liquid condensate stabilization and storage/offloading can be provided. Gas can be metered. Optional feed gas compression could be made.

3) Feed Gas pre-treatment: Removal of CO2, H2S, water vapour, mercury, and heavy hydrocarbon can be implemented.

4) Liquefaction: Natural gas can be liquefied using any suitable process, for example, a so-called single mixed refrigerant process.

5) LNG storage: A membrane LNG tank or any other suitable LNG tank can be housed within the barge.

6) LNG offloading: Transfer of LNG from the tank to an ocean-going LNG tanker can be made for example using tandem soft yoke mooring and offloading (SYMO) system.

The present invention also extends to an apparatus for off-shore processing a hydrocarbon stream such as natural gas, comprising a jack-up platform, one or more jack-up legs rootable to a sea-bed, and one or more hydrocarbon storage facilities such as LNG storage tanks.