The vessel, measuring 1,600 feet in length and displacing as much water as five aircraft carriers, was then towed to Australia, specifically to Shell’s Prelude field, roughly 125 miles north of the Western Australian coast, CNBC reported.
In 2018, the Prelude will begin its job of extracting and processing natural gas at sea, Kallanish Energy learns. The gas will be pumped up from below the seabed to the floating platform, where it is then cooled.
Liquefied natural gas carriers, serving Asian customers, will then pull near the Prelude and fill their massive storage tanks with LNG chilled to -260 degrees Fahrenheit.
Despite its ship-like appearance, the Prelude is not in the strictest sense a ship as it carries no propulsion power and must be towed to its destinations, according to CNBC.
Its ability to produce and offload gas to large carriers eliminates a need for long pipelines to land-based LNG processing plants. The FLNG technology is also applauded for the ability to be used at various remote locations.
However, the increase in cheap gas primarily because of U.S. shale technology has left some industry watchers questioning the current value of an expensive offshore facility. In 2016, Shell itself decided not to pursue a further three FLNG projects with Samsung, CNBC reported.
Shell says it will produce at least 5.3 million tons per annum (MTPA) of liquids, including 3.6 MTPA of LNG, 1.3 MTPA of condensate and 0.4 MTPA of liquefied petroleum gas.
The ship has a deck longer than four soccer fields and storage tanks that would fill 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools, according to CNBC. Longer than the Empire State Building, Prelude also measures 211 feet — as wide as the wings on a Boeing 747.
Shell has never disclosed how much the vessel will cost, but industry analysts told Reuters its price would range between $10.8 billion and $12.6 billion.
Source: Kallanish Energy