Shell has laid the keel for Prelude FLNG, the world’s first floating liquefied natural gas project. When complete, Prelude is expected to be the largest offshore floating facility ever built. 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.
Large steel sections, known as blocks, that form the hull are being manufactured in the Geoje shipyard, with more than 1,600 already complete. One section can be the size of a large house. The hull will be assembled in the dry dock before the turret and the topsides are fitted at Samsung Heavy Industries’ Geoje shipyard in South Korea. The 93-metre high turret mooring system is under construction in Dubai and will be transported to Geoje in five parts. The turret will run vertically through one end of the facility and will be anchored to the seabed by four groups of mooring lines. It will allow the facility to rotate with the direction of the wind.
Despite its huge dimensions, the facility is only one-quarter the size of an equivalent plant on land. Shell’s technology has been adapted for floating LNG, and engineers designed components that will stack vertically to save space. The cooling plant, for example, will be placed above the vast storage tanks. Specially designed tubes, known as risers, will draw 50M litres of cold water from the ocean every hour to help cool the natural gas.