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Shell's FLNG plans take shape

Royal Dutch Shell's floating LNG ambitions are gradually taking shape in Samsung Heavy Industries' Geoje shipyard in South Korea, where finishing touches are being put to the giant hull of the production vessel that will hover over the Prelude gas field off the Kimberley coast from 2016.

At 488m long and 74m wide, the vessel will be the world's biggest. Once its topside is added, it will be capable of producing 3.6 million tonnes of LNG, 400,000t of liquid petroleum gas and 1.3mtpa of condensate a year.

Importantly for Shell, it hopes the 600,000-tonne prototype to be used at Prelude will prove sufficiently successful that sister vessels can be used on other gas fields, including the Torosa, Calliance and Brecknock fields off the Kimberley that make up the Woodside Petroleum-led Browse LNG venture.

Shell has a design-one, build-many contract with Samsung and has become the trendsetter in the global industry's move from land-based processing to floating operation.