Shell – Prelude

Floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) is a revolutionary technology that will allow Shell to access offshore gas fields that would otherwise be too costly or difficult to develop. Prelude FLNG is the world’s first FLNG development.

Key facts

Location: Browse Basin, Australia

Depth: ~250 metres

Category: Floating liquefied natural gas

Interest: Shell 67.5%, INPEX 17.5%, CPC 5%, KOGAS 10%

Fields: Prelude and potentially other Shell natural gas assets in the region

FLNG facility production capacity: At least 5.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquids: 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate and 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas

Key contractors: Technip Samsung Consortium

Current developments

Shell took the final investment decision (FID) on the Prelude FLNG project on May 20, 2011.

We started building a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility to produce and export LNG off the coast of Australia.

Engineers worked more than 1.6 million hours during the engineering and design phase of the Prelude FLNG project.

Since FID, Shell has welcomed three joint venture partners to the project – INPEX (17.5%), KOGAS (10%) and CPC Corporation (5%).

The construction phase of the Prelude FLNG project is well under way. Our aim is to deliver Prelude FLNG safely and to do it right. This means developing a facility that is safe, robust, reliable and with high availability to enable continuous, stable LNG production.

Safety and quality are the priority for Shell at all Prelude project locations. Together with our contractors, we are constantly working to ensure that safety comes first and that everyone goes home safely every day. We have a team of 250 inspectors deployed at project locations to check that all equipment and material is delivered in accordance with our specifications.

Prelude is a global project, with fabrication of components taking place all over the globe. A key location is Geoje, South Korea, where the Prelude FLNG hull and topsides are under construction at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard – which has one of the few dry docks in the world big enough to construct a facility of this size.

In November 2013, Shell celebrated the launch of the Prelude FLNG hull. For a whole year, steel was welded together by thousands of workers at the SHI yard to create the biggest hull ever built. Once structurally complete, and weighing approximately 200,000 tonnes, the hull was floated in the dry dock before it was towed by nine tug boats through the Geoje harbour to its new position on the quay, where it is secured by 32 heavy mooring ropes.

At Geoje, the topside modules, many of which weigh as much as a single typical offshore platform, are now being installed on the hull and integrated. Early commissioning has begun.

As many as 5,000 people work on the Prelude FLNG facility on any given day at Geoje. In the Middle East, in Dubai, the construction of the Prelude FLNG turret mooring system is progressing well. Once assembled, it will be the largest turret in the world, almost 100 metres high. The first turret module was completed in September 2013 and transported to Geoje, where it was installed into the hull before it was floated. Since August 2014, four more turret modules have been shipped to Geoje and integrated into the hull.

The Noble Clyde Boudreaux drilling rig was towed to the Prelude FLNG location off the coast of Western Australia in August 2013, and drilling of the production wells is under way. The first well was completed in late December 2014.

Malaysia has been the main location for the project’s subsea system design and the construction of subsea Christmas trees, manifolds and control equipment, with two Christmas trees already installed subsea at the Prelude location in late 2014.

The Prelude loading arms are under construction at the FMC manufacturing facility in Sens, France, and in February 2014, the first Prelude loading arm was tested. Ocean conditions and the extreme cold of the LNG were simulated and the tests were deemed a success.

In Darwin, Australia, the main onshore supply base for Prelude is complete. The site is already receiving spare parts and equipment for the Prelude FLNG facility.

Shell has founded a dedicated search and rescue helicopter service in Broome, Australia, to support drilling activity and later the Prelude FLNG facility. It is supported by a dedicated team of highly trained pilots, paramedics, engineers and crew. The service is on standby 24-hours a day and is able to respond within 15 minutes during daylight hours and 30 minutes at night.

Shell started recruiting Australian production and maintenance technicians in 2012. Since then, more than 1,200 people have been employed and moved to Geoje, South Korea to work on operations readiness for Prelude.

Once operational, the Prelude FLNG facility will produce at least 5.3 million tonnes (mtpa) per annum of liquids: 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate (equivalent to 35,000 bbl/d) and 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Prelude FLNG is the first of what we expect to be many FLNG projects, which will build on our existing capability and LNG leadership.

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