Several Japanese companies are competing to obtain an order from Petronas to build a mobile plant at sea for liquefying natural gas, reports the Nikkei.

The Malaysian state-run oil giant, Petroliam Nasional Bhd, plans to develop offshore gas fields. The gas development project, estimated to cost 200 billion yen, seeks to set up a floating plant capable of producing 1.5 million tons of liquefied natural gas off the shore of Malaysia’s easternmost state, Sabah, by 2016.

Selected Japanese firms submitted plans for the plant’s basic design. Petronas is expected to award the order to one of the groups – JGC Corp. with South Korea’s Samsung Heavy Industries and Modec Inc. with IHI Corp. and Tokyo Engineering Corp – next year. The floating Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) plant will be the first order for a Japanese firm. Japanese companies receive 60% of orders for land-based LNG plants and hopes to lead the market for floating facilities.

According to The Nikkei, floating plants will be able to liquefy directly above the deposits and could easily be relocated once resources become depleted.