Shell has announced plans to use an innovative in-situ gas-processing technique in its offshore gas field off the northwest coast of Western Australia.
The technique, known as Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG), will be used for Shell’s Prelude and Concerto gas discoveries located in the Browse Basin.
Shell argues that the ability to process gas in situ over an offshore gas field will reduce project costs and the environmental footprint of an LNG development.
The Prelude FLNG project is now in the front-end engineering and design (FEED) phase of development. FEED for Prelude is being undertaken as part of Shell’s contract with the Technip-Samsung Heavy Industries consortium for the design, construction and installation of multiple FLNG facilities.
Malcolm Brinded, Shell’s executive director, upstream international, said the FLNG technology has the potential to unlock some of Australia’s ‘stranded’ gas reserves that have previously been considered uneconomic to develop because of their small size or distance from shore.
Jon Chadwick, Shell’s executive vice-president, Australia, upstream international, agreed that Australia is the ideal location for the first application of Shell’s FLNG technology.
He said: ‘This project will produce LNG, condensate and liquefied petroleum gas during its 20-plus years of operation and it will contribute to Australia’s economy through employment, tax revenue and business opportunities for Australians.
‘This project is fast moving, with Prelude discovered in January 2007 and Concerto in late March 2009.’
Shell is working on the environmental and production approvals for the Prelude FLNG project. The environmental impact statement is soon to be released for public comment.
The dimensions of Shell’s FLNG facility are approximately 480m by 75m, with the capacity to produce around 3.5 million tonnes per annum of LNG, as well as condensate and LPG. When fully ballasted, the FLNG facility weighs around 600,000 tonnes.