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The Prelude FLNG. Image courtesy of Shell.

Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility has been floated out of the dry dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI) yard in Geoje, South Korea, where the 488-metre-long-hull of facility is currently under construction.

Once complete, Prelude FLNG will be the largest floating facility ever built.

Shell said Tuesday the Prelude facility will produce about 3.6 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year.

“Making FLNG a reality is no simple feat,” said Matthias Bichsel, Shell Projects & Technology Director. “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.”

FLNG will allow Shell to produce natural gas at sea, turn it into liquefied natural gas and then transfer it directly to the ships that will transport it to customers, the company said.

“It will enable the development of gas resources ranging from clusters of smaller more remote fields to potentially larger fields via multiple facilities where, for a range of reasons, an onshore development is not viable. This can mean faster, cheaper, more flexible development and deployment strategies for resources that were previously uneconomic, or constrained by technical or other risks,” Shell said in a statement.

Prelude FLNG is the first deployment of Shell’s FLNG technology and will operate in a remote basin around 475 kilometres north-east of Broome, Western Australia for around 25 years.

The facility will remain onsite during all weather events, having been designed to withstand a category 5 cyclone.

Shell is the operator of Prelude FLNG in joint venture with INPEX (17.5%), KOGAS (10%) and OPIC (5%), working with long-term strategic partners Technip and Samsung Heavy Industries (the Technip Samsung Consortium).