Shell moving ahead with Prelude floating LNG project

Rick Wilkinson
OGJ Correspondent

MELBOURNE, May 20 -- Shell Australia has given the green light to its Prelude floating LNG (FLNG) project in the Browse basin off Western Australia. The company announced its final investment decision on May 20 in Perth.

Prelude received environmental approval from the federal government in November (OGJ Online, Nov. 12, 2010).

The project will see development of the Prelude and nearby Concerto gas fields in permit WA-371-P with total reserves of 3 tcf of gas and about 120 million bbl of condensate.

The development, which some investment sources say will cost $11 billion, will be capable of producing 3.6 million tonnes/year of LNG, 1.3 million tpy of condensate, and 400,000 tpy of LPG.

Shell says it is now ready to begin detailed design and construction of what will be the world’s first FLNG facility in a ship yard in South Korea.

Initial design of the vessel was done by South Korean firm Samsung Heavy Industries along with Technip of France. The actual construction will be carried out by Samsung at its Geoje Shipyard from 2012.

The vessel will be 488 m long and weigh 600,000 tonnes. Delivery is scheduled for 2016 with first gas expected from the project the same year.

During the vessel construction Shell will contract an offshore drilling rig to drill eight subsea wells beginning in 2013. This will take about 2 years.

The wells will be drilled to a depth of 5,400 m and tied back to the subsea manifolds before being hooked up to the FLNG facility via flowlines.

FLNG hook-up and installation will take 6 months in advance of commissioning in 2015 and readiness to come on stream in 2016.

The cyclone-proof vessel will remain moored at Prelude field for 25 years and cater to other field developments in the surrounding area where Shell has an interest.

The Prelude project is Shell’s first upstream project in Australia as operator. It will add $45 billion (Aus.) to Australia’s GDP and create 1,000 jobs, Shell said.

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