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Engineering feat of the Month: Shell Prelude FLNG

Posted by: Andy Mant
25/11/2016
The Browse Basin is a large area of undeveloped gas resources off the coast of north-western Australia. At its deepest it sits up to 4000 meters below the water level, and was discovered in 2000 as being an as yet untapped area of natural fuel. Since 2011, Shell have had a 67.5% stake in the region.

Floating potential


Work is currently underway on the construction of a floating gas facility along with Shell’s venture partners, INPEX (17.5%), KOGAS (10%) and CPC Corporation (5%). The aim of this facility is to harvest at least 5.3 million tonnes of liquid gas a year from the Browse Basin and make the most of this huge gas supply. For such a grand undertaking, the facility had to be right.

That meant making it safe, secure and stable, allowing it to continuously deliver a reliable supply of gas while ensuring the safety of its over 5,000 workers. It also meant making it big, very big.

A huge task

In 2013 the largest steel hull ever was constructed, weighing in at a staggering 200,000 tonnes. A Boeing 747 weighs a tiny 450 tonnes in comparison. It took nine tug boats to tow it from the dry harbour in which it was constructed, and 32 huge heavy duty mooring ropes to secure it in place just off the coast of South Korea where further work could take place. Additional modules, many of which weigh as much as a typical hull alone, are now being added, making this a goliath of state of the art construction.

When the Prelude FLNG turret is completed and installed, it will be the largest gas turret in the world at almost 100 meters high. You’ll be able to see it from miles around, and the work that takes place there will have an impact all over the world.

 
The long way home

Once construction is finally finished, perhaps the biggest task of all will be moving the facility along its 475-kilometre journey to its final home offshore Western Australia. There it will be moored, hooked up to the undersea network and begin production for the next 25 years. It’s a big project, and it will be delivering even bigger results.

LNG will play an increasingly important role in the world’s energy mix. Shell’s enormous investment in Prelude FLNG is clear evidence of this. If you’re looking to power up your career in Oil & Gas, then LNG offers some breakout opportunities. Fircroft Australia is working with some of the biggest LNG projects in the Australasia region, so act now and take the next steps to future-proof your career.
 

 
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