Shell ships first LNG from world’s largest offshore facility Prelude

Prelude is the largest offshore facility ever constructed.
Prelude is the largest offshore facility ever constructed.

Shell has shipped the first LNG cargo from Prelude, the world’s largest offshore facility ever constructed.

The Prelude floating liquefied natural gas vessel lies nearly 300 miles off Western Australia, stretching out the length of four football fields end to end.

Analysts Wood Mackenzie said with it now onstream, Australia is on track to overtake Qatar as the world’s largest LNG producer.

Shell said the first shipment will be delivered to customers in Asia via the Spanish flagged Valencia Knutsen, more than eight years after FID and two years after arriving in Australia.

Integrated gas and new energies director Maarten Wetselaar, said: “Today’s first shipment of LNG departed from Prelude FLNG, safely. Everyone involved should be very proud of the work taken to reach this important milestone.

“Prelude forms an integral part of our global portfolio and plays an important role in meeting the growing demand for more and cleaner energy for our customers around the world.”

Prelude will produce 3.6million tonnes of LNG, 1.3million tonnes of condensate and 400,000 tonnes liquefied petroleum gas per year, with capacity to hold the same amount of liquid as 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Wood Mackenzie said the milestone marks a new phase for Australia’s “LNG boom”.

Senior analyst Daniel Toleman said: “How fast Prelude delivers its second and third cargo, and ramps up to plateau output will be a key indicator of success. Shell will be keen to ramp up to full production quickly to counteract any reserves impact from the already producing and connected Ichthys field.

“The Prelude facility will be backfilled by Crux, which entered FEED this year. We expect an FID late next year with first production in 2025. In addition, later this year Shell will spud the Bratwurst exploration well. If a significant gas resource is discovered it is likely these volumes will be developed via the Prelude facility.

“With Prelude onstream, Australia is on track to export more than 80 mmtpa of LNG, which surpasses Qatar as the largest LNG producer in the world.

“The completion of Prelude marks the end of the Australian greenfield LNG boom. The next investment cycle is already in sight, with backfill projects – Scarborough, Barossa, Browse, Arrow and Crux – vying for FID.”

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