By | October 26, 2022

We’re currently living in a time of unprecedented disruption, with the demand for liquified natural gas (LNG) increasing in Europe as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues. LNG has emerged as a potential solution for bolstering Europe’s energy supplies. As a result, LNG operators are under pressure to deliver the energy Europe needs without compromising safety or reliability.  

Sphera’s newest Control of Work (CoW) solution is the first software of its kind specifically designed to meet the needs of the midstream LNG industry. Drawing upon Sphera’s extensive experience in the LNG industry and in operational risk management (ORM), the solution’s easy-to-use, online / offline mobile capabilities allow organizations to ensure that workers follow proper procedures and adhere to best practices as LNG production scales up or down depending on demand. CoW for LNG helps build a foundation for operational ESG, leading to increased productivity, greater regulatory compliance and improved safety.    

Keeping Up with Energy Demand

With Russian oil imports impacted by the war in Ukraine, there is now more pressure than ever on the LNG industry to produce enough fuel to keep up with demand. Before the war started, Germany imported more than half of its gas from Russian pipelines, according to Bloomberg. Now the country is having to speed up the construction of LNG facilities to ensure it has enough fuel to last through the winter, as the EU plans to ban Russian oil imports arriving by sea by the end of 2022. After the launch of the invasion, it was estimated that it would take three to five years to build LNG terminals in Germany, according to the Guardian. German politicians now estimate that the facilities could open as soon as this December. 

Exporting LNG from Canada and Australia have also been proposed as solutions to help solve Europe’s energy crisis. Australian LNG exports from the world’s largest floating LNG platform could potentially help ease Europe’s energy crisis. Under normal circumstances, exporting LNG from Australia to Europe does not make sense. But Australian LNG imports may offer a much-needed resource for Europe following the termination of oil supplies from the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in late August. 

According to a report from Goldman Sachs, LNG supplies are abundant enough to end Europe’s energy crisis. The report noted that European gas prices are only expected to come down below industrial-demand-destruction levels once global LNG supply increases significantly. The report estimates that prices will come down in 2025 once several liquefaction projects under construction in the U.S., Qatar and Canada come online. 

Simply put, increasing LNG production and exports offers a solution to Europe’s energy crisis. However, with this increased demand for LNG comes the increased need to ensure operations are safe and reliable as production ramps up. 

Improve Safety and Reliability with a Modern Solution for Modern Problems

The complexity of LNG facilities combined with the greater scrutiny of ESG performance means that digital documentation of permits is now essential for LNG operators to improve productivity, reduce risk and ensure regulatory compliance.  

Depending on demand, operations can vary drastically from day to day for LNG facilities. As a result, LNG operators need greater visibility into the permitting process to ensure their operations are as agile as possible. To maximize efficiency and safety, Sphera’s CoW for LNG solution offers: 

  • Digital sharing of permitting best practices, eliminating the need to write each permit on paper.
  • Assurance that inspections, maintenance and preventive activities are performed only after all safety measures–such as a lockout/tagout (LOTO) process or safe confined space entry–are in place.
  • Better connectivity of employees, contractors and maintenance crews through the solution’s online / offline mobile application.

With Sphera’s CoW for LNG solution, workers have the information they need on the go. Information is logged when workers are offline and is automatically synchronized with the application and shared with operators when access to the internet is restored.  

Increase Productivity Through Greater Communication

Digital permitting is especially important for LNG facilities leveraging “trains.” These trains can operate independently and be turned on or off based on demand but are generally identical across locations. By eliminating physical permitting, LNG operators can improve information sharing, which leads to better decision making and increased productivity. 

CoW for LNG allows operators to:  

  • Access real-time information from permits, isolations, hazards, maintenance shifts and simultaneous operations (SIMOPS).
  • Schedule and coordinate critical assignments for workers and maintenance tasks.
  • Log activities and automatically communicate information in real time, not permit duration.

Ensure Greater Regulatory Compliance and Reduce Risk

Given the increased potential of the LNG industry to help meet growing energy demands, the regulatory spotlight on the LNG industry is now more intense than ever. Adding to these challenges are the inherent risks involved with the midstream oil and gas industry, with accidents having implications for the environment and the operator’s reputation.  

There is increased pressure on LNG businesses to operate as safely as possible and with greater oversight. LNG operators must ensure their operations and procedures are backed up by documentation that is traceable and auditable, and they need a comprehensive system of intelligence to achieve greater safety and reliability. 

Sphera’s CoW for LNG solution provides: 

  • Documentation of all business operations with a full audit trail.
  • Evidence of consistent operational practices that are built on standardized policies.
  • Digital permits that are available upon request.

An Essential Solution for LNG Operators

With an energy crisis that’s expected to last for years, LNG operators must make sure their facilities are prepared to operate at increased capacity to meet demand without sacrificing safety or reliability. Greater demand brings with it greater regulatory scrutiny, and the focus on ESG performance has placed the oil and gas industry under a microscope. 

Sphera’s CoW for LNG software allows operators to solve these challenges by enabling better connectivity with workers, which leads to increased productivity, improved safety and greater compliance. With the help of a solution that is tailor-made to fit their needs, LNG operators can achieve: 

  • Increased efficiency
  • Greater oversight
  • Enforcement of standards
  • Timely communication
  • Clear guidance in digital permits

Sphera’s powerful mobile solution with online / offline capabilities provides the tools LNG operators need to ensure safe, compliant and productive operations. To learn more about Sphera’s CoW for LNG solution, visit the corresponding solution page.