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LNG Liquefaction Ship

Shell built the world’s second floating LNG facility in 2013.  Prelude weighs in at 600,000 tonnes, which is six times the weight of the world's largest aircraft carrier.  Prelude, a "floating liquefied natural gas facility" is 1,600 feet long and 243 feet wide. That makes it the biggest ship in the world.  

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As a floating natural gas facility, it will be posted off the coast of Western Australia for 25 years, acting more like a platform than a mobile vessel.  The ship will be anchored to the sea floor with a 93-metre-tall turret while it processes 175 Olympic swimming pools' worth of liquid natural gas year-round.

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Gas will be harvested from the ocean, processed on board and then transferred to transport ships.  The ship could be supplied by pipelines from the mainland.  In the past, offshore gas had to be piped onto land and liquefied in shore side plants. But with the mega-ships, offshore LNG can be processed on site.

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Prelude has three 6,700-horsepower engines, giving it the combined power of about 152 cars.  The ship floated out of dry dock for the first time in late November 2013. It began its job off the coast of Western Australia in 2017.   

Prelude was built by the Technip /Samsung Consortium (TSC) in South Korea for a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell, KOGAS and Inpex.  It is made with more than 260,000 tonnes of steel. At full load, it will displace more than 600,000 tonnes, more than five times the displacement of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier. The hull was launched in December 2013.

The main double-hulled structure was built by the Technip Samsung Consortium in the Samsung Heavy Industries Geoje shipyard in South Korea. 

Prelude FLNG was approved for funding by Shell in 2011.  Analyst estimates in 2013 for the cost of the vessel were between US$10.8 to 12.6 billion.  Shell estimated in 2014 that the project would cost up to US$3.5 billion per million tons of production capacity. 

The Prelude FLNG system will be used in the Prelude and Concerto gas fields in the Browse LNG Basin, 120 mi off the coast of Australia; drilling and gas production are both expected to begin in 2016. It has a planned life expectancy of 25 years. The Prelude and Concerto fields are expected to produce 5.3 million tonnes of liquid and condensate per year; this includes 3.6 million tonnes of liquified natural gas, 1.3 million tonnes of condensate, and 400,000 tonnes of liquified petroleum gas.

Natural gas will be extracted from wells and liquefied by chilling it to −260 °F.  The ability to produce and offload LNG to large LNG carriers is an important innovation, which reduces costs and removes the need for long pipelines to land-based LNG processing plants. 

It will produce 110,000 barrels of oil equivalent (BOE) per day.

On 25 July 2017, after a journey of 3,600 miles from its construction site in South Korea, Prelude arrived on site in Western Australian waters. It will begin its hook-up and commissioning phase, and is expected to become operational in 2018.    (Fast Company, 10/12/2009,, 12/9/2013, Wiki)

Norris McDonaldComment