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The world's biggest vessel, Shell’s Prelude floating LNG (liquefied natural gas) vessel departed from South Korea's Geoje shipyard on Friday, beginning its one-month journey to the Prelude gas field, 475 kilometers off the northern coast of Western Australia.
The vessel is 488 meters long, 74 meters wide and weighs about 260,000 tons. Built by the Technip Samsung Consortium, Prelude is capable of extracting, refining, producing and offloading about 3.6 million tons of LNG per year, for which Royal Dutch Shell has invested up to 12 billion US dollars. Prelude's capabilities mean that Shell will not have to pipe gas onshore for processing.
Compared to traditional onshore-based LNG platforms, Prelude, using floating LNG facilities, has less environmental impact and is more economical, especially for the development of small-sized or medium sized gas fields.
According to Shell, it will next focus on kickstarting the whole Prelude operation. Production is expected to commence in early 2018, with cash flow from the project expected later in the year.