PNG LNG Project: customised forecasts for a distribution port


A multinational oil and gas corporation, who had recently completed construction of a US$19 billion natural gas production and processing facility in Papua New Guinea (PNG), required detailed forecasting to help increase safety and operational efficiency at their plant.

The facility is part of an integrated development that includes natural gas production and processing facilities, onshore and offshore pipelines, liquefaction facilities, and a distribution port serving the rapidly expanding demand for LNG in Asia.

Safety is critical. The LNG plant’s marine terminal is the designated point for loading liquefied natural gas onto ships. The distribution port head and trestle extends 2.3km from the shore into the bay and deeper water for the berthing of the LNG tankers. The largest tankers visiting the port head will be the more efficient and environmentally friendly Q-Flex class vessels, which measure up to a colossal 315 metres long! Preparing the port head and loading a vessel takes 24 hours, and vessels are expected to berth every three days.

Meteorological data and analysis is paramount for the safety, operational efficiency and environmental considerations of the plant. There are five main meteorological considerations for offshore oil and gas operations.

  1. Heavy rain – dangerous work environment and poor visibility.
  2. Gales create berthing challenges.
  3. Safely navigating to jetty head is weather dependent.
  4. Transfer of a volatile energy source must be safely conducted.
  5. Infrastructure assets must be protected.

Severe weather conditions may mean tankers are requested to remain offshore, lightning can be an important safety consideration, and liquefied gas transferrals must be undertaken under safe environmental conditions.

MetraWeather has been providing a similar service in a long-established contract for offshore meteorological guidance in Bass Strait. This experience in providing a wide-range of marine forecasting and oceanography intelligence for offshore oil and gas exploration and ports, was a perfect fit for the plant’s requirements.

MetraWeather was appointed to provide the Project with quality meteorological data for the ocean-based part of the supply network. A MetraWeather meteorologist also interprets the weather data feeds and delivers daily weather briefings.

The services include:

  • wind direction, wind speed and gust forecasts
  • air temperature forecasts
  • combined wave forecasts
  • sea wave forecasts
  • swell forecasts        
  • lightning proximity alerting 
  • tsunami and earthquake alerts via official links. 

These services are sent to a client-specified email distribution list, and can be accessed via MetraWeather’s MetConnect password-protected website.

It's all about safety and operating prudentially. The weather forecasting will provide accurate real-time and forecast information to help the Project reduce downtime, increase efficiency and help improve health and safety compliance and operational accountability.

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