PreludeFLNG is the world's second floating liquefied natural gas platform as well as the largest offshore facility ever constructed. The 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 488 metres (1,601 ft) long, 74 metres (243 ft) wide, and 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-classaircraft 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. Construction was officially started when the first metal was cut for the substructure in October 2012. The Turret Mooring System has been subcontracted to SBM and has been built in Drydocks World Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Other equipment such as subsea wellheads are being constructed in other places around the world. It was launched on 30 November 2013 with no superstructure (accommodation and process plant).
The vessel is moored by its turret to 16 seabed driven steel piles, each 65-meters-long and 5.5 meters in diameter.
Subsea equipment is being built by FMC Technologies, and Emerson is the main supplier of automation systems and uninterruptible power supply systems. By July 2015, all 14 gas plant modules were installed.
Cost and funding
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. Competitive pressures from an increase in the long-term production capabilities of North American gas fields due to hydraulic fracturing technologies and increasing Russian export capabilities may reduce the actual profitability of the venture from what was anticipated in 2011.
The Prelude FLNG system will be used in the Prelude and Concerto gas fields in the Browse LNG Basin, 200 kilometres (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 −162 °C (−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. However, fitting all the equipment onto a single floating facility was a significant challenge.
The system is designed to withstand Category 5cyclones, although workers may be evacuated before that on an EC225 rescue helicopter. It will produce 110,000 BOE per day.
On 25 July 2017, after a journey of 5,800 km (3,600 mi) 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.
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IT makes the Sydney Opera House, London Eye and Taj Mahal look like doll houses, contains five times more steel than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, is almost twice as long as the Titanic and 2 1/2 times as wide.
Feast your eyes on Prelude — the biggest vessel the world has ever seen.
Since the end of last month, four tugs have been towing the 488m long and 74m wide facility from a South Korean shipyard to the WA coast.
Prelude is due to arrive at the Prelude Offshore Gas Field at Browse Basin, 475km north-east of Broome, in the next couple of weeks and will call WA waters homes for the next 20 to 25 years.
Energy giant Shell commissioned South Korea’s Technip Samsung Consortium to build the US$12 billion-plus behemoth, which will be used to extract, liquefy and store gas at sea before it is exported to customers across the globe.
Prelude is part of a new wave of doing business in the oil and gas industry because it compresses a traditional land-based LNG plant into a tighter, mobile package. It also removes the need for long underwater pipelines since it can be positioned directly over remote offshore gas fields.
David Bird, Shell Australia’s Prelude vice-president, said when the floating liquefied natural gas facility (FLNG) arrives, 16 pre-positioned mooring chains will be lifted from the seabed and secured to it.
The chains are connected to anchor piles that are 65m long and 5.5m in diameter. The piles have been driven into the seabed above the gas field to keep Prelude securely in position.
About 120 Australian crew members lived on the giant barge — which has the capacity to produce at least 5.3million tonnes per annum of liquids — while it was at Geoje Shipyards in South Korea to learn all about its intricacies.
“This is an exciting time for Australia as Prelude will provide hundreds of skilled jobs for local workers,” Mr Bird said.
“Jobs will include more than 200 on board the facility during operations and over 1500 jobs during the hook-up and commissioning phase of the project.”
The hook-up and commissioning phase of the project is expected to take nine to 12 months. The floating facility has individual accommodation for the full workforce and a city-quality internet connection — perks rarely enjoyed by those working in the offshore oil and gas sector.
The control centre is in a custom-built office within Shell’s Perth CBD headquarters. Workers throughout the company are reportedly lining up to be part of the action.
- The Prelude reportedly cost more than $US12 billion to build and is 488 metres long and 74 metres wide.
- It’s due to be moored 475km north-east of Broome and expected to stay in this location for 20 to 25 years.
- 6700 horsepower thrusters will be used to position the facility.
- More than 600 engineers worked on the Prelude’s design options.
- 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools would be required to hold the same amount of liquid as the Prelude’s storage tanks.
- Four soccer fields laid end-to-end would be shorter than the Prelude’s deck.
- 500 million litres of cold water will be drawn from the ocean every hour to help cool the natural gas.
- Six of the world’s biggest aircraft carriers would be needed to displace the same amount of water as the Prelude.
- It took 260,000 tonnes of steel to build — five times that used on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- The flare tower that extends off the bow is half the height of the Eiffel Tower and 40 per cent of its weight.
- The chains used to anchor the Prelude are 17km long. Each link is one metre long and weighs a tonne.
- 120 Australian crew members were living in Geoje, South Korea, to learn the ins and outs of the Prelude while it was being built.
- The facility’s production capacity is at least 5.3 million tonnes per annum of liquids (3.6Mtpa of LNG, 1.3Mtpa of condensate and 0.4Mtpa of LPG).
- The hook-up and commissioning phase of the project is expected to take nine to 12 months.