Largest floating LNG facility sets sail for home field in Australia

Shell's Prelude production facility is the largest of its kind in the world, but still takes up a quarter of the equivalent facility on shore.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   June 29, 2017 at 9:34 AM
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June 29 (UPI) -- A floating production facility that will be used to tap into the natural gas reserves off the coast of Australia has left the shipyard, Shell said Thursday.

Shell's aviation subsidiary in Australia sold in March to independent Viva Energy Australia for $250 million, in line with the Dutch supermajor's efforts to streamline its portfolio. Shell keeps its brand name visible in the aviation refueling sector, as Viva Energy remains the licensee of its fuels.

Shell's presence in Australia extends into the natural gas market, operating in the Browse reservoir in Western Australia. Its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas production facility is the largest vessel of its kind and can process an amount equivalent to Hong Kong's entire demand for natural gas.

"The facility, constructed by Technip Samsung Consortium, is being towed to North West Australia, where the next phase of the project will begin," Shell said in a statement.

The keel for the floating liquefied natural gas facility was laid in 2013. The vessel will allow Shell to pull natural gas from the Prelude field off the coast of Western Australia, process it into LNG and transport it on to its customers.

Large for a floating facility, it's one-quarter the size of an equivalent inland plant. With LNG emerging in market share because of its diverse deliverability options, Shell said the Prelude FLNG vessel opens up new doors in new countries.

"Once secure, the hook-up and commissioning process will begin," the company said.

Cash flow from the project is expected as early as next year.

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