Purging LNG tanks on Jeju Island ahead of schedule, despite 4 typhoons

January 6, 2020

Before the new gas terminal on Korea’s remote Jeju island could be commissioned, its newly constructed LNG tanks needed to be fully purged and dried using nitrogen gas. Normally a relatively straightforward affair. However, the tight project deadline meant that the works needed to be completed in the middle of Korea’s typhoon season!

Needless to say, relying on the shipment of conventional liquid N2 would have posed a serious safety risk, while potentially delaying the entire project. And so we were asked to come up with a safe and reliable solution for generating N2 on site. Yet another opportunity to go the extra (nautical) mile.

Rising to the challenge in rising seas

Jeju Island is the most southerly point in South Korea, located approx. 100km from the mainland, and a popular tourist destination during the summer months. In order to service the growing number of resorts and support functions, a new LNG terminal was built along with 2 x 45,000m3 tanks which needed to be purged and dried with heated N2 gas. To put that into perspective, you could leave your shower running for over 20 years and you still wouldn’t fill the tanks’ 90-million-litre total capacity. We were given under 2 months!

Strict project deadline

Completing the project on time meant working right in the middle of the typhoon season which notoriously plagues the Korea Straight. And so generating N2 on site was the only viable solution. But as it happens, the typhoons were not the only thing that stood in the way of meeting the strict project deadlines!

This was the first time that a NGM membrane was used for a public works project in Korea. Therefore all the equipment needed to be registered, certified and accompanied by full technical documentation (in Korean!) before works could even begin.

Hyein Kang , Sales Engineer

More than just hot air

To reach the required flow rates, we proposed 2 separate nitrogen generating packages, each comprising a NGM 1100 membrane generator serviced by 2 high-pressure, oil-free PNS 1250 compressors. However, achieving the desired result in time also meant reaching a very low dew point. And so the entire system had to be connected to 2 adsorption dryers and 1 heat exchanger unit to heat the N2 to 70oC before injecting it into the tanks. The entire setup was monitored around the clock by a dedicated Atlas Copco Rental team of operators.

This was the first project of its kind in Korea. A subsidiary of the client had already been involved in a similar project in Panama using our state-of-the-art N2 generating membranes. So our past performance and superior equipment were major factors in securing the contract for the Jeju terminal project.

Woolee Yon , Marketing Specialist at Atlas Copco Rental (Korea)

4 typhoons, still ahead of schedule

The local team not only met the tight project deadline but even succeeded in completing the works slightly ahead of schedule! And given that the island was hit by not 1 but 4 separate typhoons over the course of the project, that would never have been remotely possible using liquid nitrogen shipped from the mainland. The customer was so satisfied with our performance, in fact, that there is already a new LNG project on the horizon on the mainland of Korea.

For more information, please contact:

  • Olivia Gambin - Communications Manager, Atlas Copco Specialty Rental Division

At Atlas Copco, we have been turning industrial ideas into business-critical benefits since 1873. By listening to our customers and knowing their needs, we deliver value and innovate with the future in mind. Great ideas reinforce sustainable development. At Atlas Copco Specialty Rental, we team up with our customers to set up state-of-the-art temporary air, flow, steam and nitrogen solutions. Our passionate experts have extensive application and equipment knowledge. We understand our customers' needs and can provide a total solution for any industry, no matter if it is for emergencies or planned projects. We are a division of the Power Technique business area, headquartered in Boom, Belgium and offer specialty rental solutions under several brands around the globe.