Royal Dutch Shell reported Tuesday that the 1,600-foot hull for its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at Samsung Heavy Industries' yard in Geoje, South Korea. Once completed, the Prelude FLNG facility will be the largest floating vessel ever built - although Shell is reportedly already planning an even bigger FLNG unit.
The Prelude FLNG project is scheduled to begin production in 2017. Located at the Prelude gas field, some 300 miles offshore Western Australia, it will extract gas from a field estimated to contain approximately three trillion cubic feet and convert it to LNG. Shell expects the project to produce around 3.6 million tons of LNG per year.
Shell's FLNG approach will allow it to produce LNG at sea before transferring it directly to ships that will transport the LNG to customers. This will enable the development of gas resources that would be regarded as "stranded" when using traditional methods of getting these resources to market, from clusters of small remote fields to large, stranded gas fields.
Commenting on Tuesday's announcement, Shell Projects & Technology Director Matthias Bichsel said in a company statement:
"Making FLNG a reality is no simple feat. A project of this complexity – both in size and ingenuity – harnesses the best of engineering, design, manufacturing and supply chain expertise from around the world.
"Getting to this stage of construction, given that we only cut the first steel a year ago, is down to the expert team we have ensuring that the project's critical dimensions of safety, quality, cost and schedule are delivered."
Shell is the operator of Prelude FLNG in joint venture with INPEX (17.5 percent), KOGAS (10 percent) and OPIC (five percent).
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