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On Oct. 18, the cutting of first steel began for Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility, which will be installed offshore Australia.
“We are cutting 7.6 metric tons of steel for the Prelude FLNG facility [Oct. 18]. But in total, more than 260,000 metric tons of steel will be fabricated and assembled for the facility. That’s around five times the amount of steel used to build the Sydney Harbor Bridge,” said Matthias Bichsel, Shell’s projects and technology director.
When completed, the Prelude FLNG facility will be 488 m (1,610 feet) long and 74 m (244 ft) wide, making it the largest offshore floating facility ever built. When fully equipped and with its cargo tanks full, it will weigh more than 600,000 metric tons. The vessel is being built at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje shipyard in South Korea.
The Prelude FLNG facility will be deployed in Australian waters over 200 km (120 miles) from the nearest point on the coast.
An expert team from Shell will manage the multi-year construction of the FLNG facility. Strategic partners Technip and Samsung Heavy Industries (the Technip-Samsung consortium) along with SBM and hundreds of suppliers and contractors around the world are all contributing knowledge, skills and equipment.
While the vessel is being built, Shell will be drilling the production wells and installing subsea flowlines, risers, and mooring chains to prepare for the arrival of the FLNG facility.
Shell, with 72.5% interest in the project, is the operator. Other participants are Australian subsidiaries of Inpex Corp. (17.5%) and Korea Gas Corp. (10%). An Australian subsidiary of Taiwan’s CPC Corp. (5%) has also signed an agreement to join the project. However, completion of this transaction remains subject to conditions, including Taiwanese government approval. Once CPC is approved, Shell’s interest will be 67.5%.