The Australian reports that Shell's plan for a floating LNG platform for the Prelude field in Australia's Browse Basin has passed another project milestone - $12bn Prelude floating plant has Shell fired for LNG.
ROYAL Dutch Shell has approved its world-first Prelude floating LNG project off Western Australia at an estimated capital cost of up to $US12.6 billion ($11.8bn), in a move that will allow it to access major gas deposits stranded hundreds of kilometres from the coast.
The Anglo-Dutch giant said in Perth yesterday that it had given final invesment approval for the revolutionary project, which will mark the first time a floating LNG vessel has been deployed to produce gas and liquefy it on board by cooling.
More than $200bn worth of LNG projects are on the drawing board in Australia, which is expected to become the world's second-biggest global exporter of the cleaner burning fuel by 2020.
Approval for the Prelude project comes as the LNG sector faces an investment boom.
US energy giant Chevron, Japan's Inpex and Perth-based Woodside Petroleum are all close to signing off on multi-billion-dollar developments in Australia.
The investments come in response to strong demand for LNG, including that from China and Japan.
Shell upstream international executive director Malcolm Brinded described the Prelude project in the Browse Basin as as a "game changer" and a colossal undertaking.
The floating facility will be 488m long -- longer than four soccer fields laid end to end.
It will be the largest floating structure ever built and will be permanently moored about 200km from the coast during its 25 years of production.
The vessel, to be built by South Korea's Samsung Heavy Industries, will be six times heavier than the world's biggest aircraft carrier and designed to withstand severe category 5 cyclones.
Prelude is expected to produce 3.6 million tonnes per annum of LNG, as well as volumes of condensate and liquefied petroleum gas.
It is scheduled to begin production in 2016.