Shell's Floating Liquid Natural Gas Facility (FLNG)

This is the first of several planned "FLOATING LIQUID NATURAL GAS FACILITIES" being built for SHELL, Europe’s largest oil company, The Anglo-Dutch company, based in The Hague.

Construction began on October 18, 2012 in South Korea by Samsung Heavy Industries Co. and Technip SA (TEC) of France.
It will be immune to some of the onshore cost inflation you’ve seen in other projects globally.

N.Y. Times  Nov.13,2012

"This is groundbreaking technology developed by Shell,” says Neil Gilmour, Shell General Manager FLNG. “It has the potential to change the way we produce natural gas."

Despite its impressive proportions, the facility is one-quarter the size of an equivalent plant on land. Engineers have designed components that will stack vertically to save space. The operating plant, for example, will be placed above LNG storage tanks.

See the Barrow Island video below and compare its plans.

Shell also came up with the idea of tapping the cold of the ocean depths by pumping water to help cool the gas, avoiding the need to for extra equipment on deck.  “For LNG you need a cooling medium, like in your fridge at home,” says Neil. “We’ve invented a system to take water from deep in the ocean.”

An assembly of eight one-meter diameter pipes will extend from the facility to about 150 m below the ocean’s surface. It will deliver around 50,000 m3 of cold seawater each hour. This helps to cool the gas from below the facility, saving deck space.


The FLNG is set to remain on location for 25 years before returning to dock for maintenance, in which time it can expect to meet its fair share of stormy weather, not least the notorious category 5 tropical cyclones that occur in this part of the globe. Although its sheer size will help in coping with high winds and giant waves, one of the largest mooring systems in the world has been designed to help guarantee safety. A 105 meter turret will run through the facility and secure it to the seabed using mooring chains, while three 6,700 horsepower engines will turn it according to wind conditions.

Developing the gas at the location of the gas field will reduce impact on sensitive coastal habitats as FLNG avoids the need for shoreline pipe crossings, dredging and jetty works. Product carriers will be far from coastal reefs or whale migration routes. Wired Magazine December 2012 - Where this webmaster first heard of this project.

The FLNG is expected to produce the equivalent of 110,000 BOE per day. Once completed, the Prelude FLNG facility will not only be the world’s first FLNG facility, but will also hold the title of the world’s largest floating object ever constructed. The FLNG facility was chosen as the proposed development solution for the following reasons:  1. Lower development and decommissioning cost; 2. Smallest environmental footprint in the least sensitive location and with simplest rehabilitation requirements, and 3. Flexibility to subsequently relocate and reuse the FLNG facility to other fields.

The Prelude FLNG Project is located in the Browse Petroleum Basin under the permit "WA-44-L". See map below:

"Shell" PRELUDE Project
"Barrow Is." GORGON Project

Other Links
Wikipedia      gcaptain
Gorgon Gas Project
Westcoast Pipeline

Barrow Island is the second largest island in Western Australia, and is one of Australia’s oldest nature reserves. But this remarkable place, is described as Australia’s ‘Galapagos’ because of its rare and endangered species, and now faces unprecedented threats. In December 2006, the Western Australian Government overruled the advice of its own Environmental Protection Authority and approved the development on the island of a huge gas plant by the energy companies, Chevron, Shell and ExxonMobil.  The Video above describes the projects.