Maurice Brand’s Global Energy Ventures wants to move the gas that LNG and pipelines cannot by simply squeezing it into pipes stacked inside a ship.
Global chairman Mr Brand and long-time collaborator, Global director Garry Triglavcanin, joined the board of TTE Petroleum in late 2016.
Within six months the two veterans of power provider Energy Equity and LNG project developer LNG Ltd had renamed the company, put its exploration and production assets up for sale and pivoted to developing ships to transport compressed natural gas.
Currently, gas is moved to market in a pipeline or by cooling it at great expense and shipping liquefied natural gas.
Compressed natural gas gets much less fuel into a ship than LNG, but it is cheaper, simpler and does not involve burning about 8 per cent of the gas to run the LNG plant.
The idea is decades-old, but a CNG ship has never operated.
In 2017 Global bought Canadian company SeaNG and its design for a ship with pipes stacked inside its full length and clamped in place to give the vessel added strength.
In January the American Bureau of Shipping approved the design, and Global’s next step is to sign up a shipyard.
Mr Brand said the ships were best suited to delivering one to 1.5 million tonnes of gas a year up to about 2000km.
The higher volume requires one of the gas-fuelled ships to arrive every day.
Mr Triglavcanin said gas associated with oil production that is now flared or re-injected could be exported without costly offshore modifications.
Global is looking at shipping gas from PNG’s Pasca A field operated by Twinza Oil, part-owned by the Clough family, to Australia’s east coast.
Other options for gas are small isolated Malaysian fields that could supply northern Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam or the southern Philippines.
Delivering gas from the Middle East to India’s east coast is also being investigated.
Mr Brand said he had promised Global’s shareholders to have a project ready for financing by the end of this year.
“One that we’ve identified, we’ve got the gas, we’ve got the market, and we’re putting it all together,” he said.
“The key is the bankability of the customer.”