Royal Dutch Shell has floated out the hull of its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility from the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) shipyard in Geoje, South Korea.

Operated by Shell in a joint venture with Inpex, KOGAS and OPIC, and in partnership with Technip and Samsung Heavy Industries, the Prelude FLNG facility is currently undergoing construction.

Once built, the facility will weigh more than 600,000t and have a hull of 488m in length, making it the the largest floating facility in the world.

The Prelude FLNG will operate in a remote basin around 475km north-east of Broome in Western Australia.

Shell expects Prelude to enable it produce approximately 3.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, 1.3mtpa of condensate and 0.4mtpa of LPG, which can be transferred directly to customers through its ships.

The facility is being designed to withstand a category five cyclone and to remain on location for approximately 25 years.

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By GlobalData

Some of the customised tools equipped on the FLNG include close coupling between the producing wells and the LNG processing facility, mooring systems, water intake risers, LNG tanks and LNG offloading arms.

Shell project and technology director Matthias Bichsel said a project of this complexity both in size and ingenuity harnesses the best of engineering, design, manufacturing and supply chain expertise from around the world.

"Getting to this stage of construction, given that we only cut the first steel a year ago, is down to the expert team we have ensuring that the project’s critical dimensions of safety, quality, cost and schedule are delivered," Bichsel added.

Image: Prelude floating liquefied natural gas facility will operate north-east of Broome in Western Australia. Credit: Shell.