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Prelude FLNG sets sail for Australia

By  Sunday, 02 July 2017 23:13
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Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has reached a major milestone, leaving South Korea and starting its journey to Western Australia, where the next phase of the mega project will commence.

The 488m long facility said to be longer than four soccer fields, left the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje on 29 June, and is en route to the Prelude offshore gas field, 475km north-north east of Broome.

On arrival at its new home, the hook-up and commissioning process will begin, as soon as the pre-installed mooring chains are lifted from the seabed and secured to the facility.

Shell said Prelude FLNG is an important project in its portfolio. It will provide LNG for customers around the world and generate cash flow that will help drive the performance of its integrated gas business. Cash flow from the project is expected in 2018.

The super major holds majority stake in the joint venture with 67.5% interest. Other partners include the Australian subsidiaries of Inpex (17.5%), Korea Gas (10%) and CPC Corp. (5%).

Prelude is designed to enable the exploration of 3 Tcf of gas resources that were previously uneconomic or constrained by technical or other risks. The facility will stay permanently moored for 25 years at the Prelude gas field, and in later development phases produce from other fields in the area where Shell has an interest.

It is expected to produce at least 5.3 MTPA of liquids, 3.6 MTPA of LNG, 1.3 MTPA of condensate, and 0.4 MTPA of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). According to Shell, many of the technologies used on the FLNG facility are ones that it has used successfully onshore, but some have been extended or modified for offshore. 

The new technology that has been developed for FLNG includes LNG tanks that can handle sloshing, close coupling between the producing wells and the LNG processing facility; LNG offloading arms, water intake risers, mooring systems; and the maximization of processing equipment such as absorption columns and the main cryogenic heat exchangers. Furthermore, Prelude has been built to withstand the severest cyclones - those of Category 5.

Speaking at the LNG 18 conference in Perth, Australia, last April, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said Prelude is now a standardized design. Depending on the composition and location of gas reservoirs, Shell can add different pre-designed topside modules and offloading systems.

“Prelude is designed to export LNG, LPG and condensate from resource-rich gas fields. But there are also a lot of so-called lean gas fields which do not produce as much LPG and condensate. To produce more LNG instead, we’ve made some changes to the Prelude design and developed FLNG Lean. We expect FLNG Lean to be cost competitive for larger, lean gas fields,” he explained. 

Image: Prelude FLNG / Shell 

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