Shell to build world’s largest offshore floating facility

Paul Boughton

Moored far out to sea, some 200 kilometres from the nearest land in Australia, Shell's FLNG facility will produce gas from offshore fields and liquefy it onboard by cooling.

The facility, which will be the world’s largest floating offshore facility, chills gas to -162 degrees Celsius and turns it into liquid. It shrinks the gas by 600 times, allowing it to be shipped to far off towns and cities where energy is needed.

The facility which will be constructed in a ship yard in Korea, and will be used to help open up new natural gas fields at sea that are currently considered too costly or difficult to develop.‪

From bow to stern, Shell’s FLNG facility will be 488 metres – longer than four football fields laid end to end. When fully equipped and with its storage tanks full, it will weigh around 600,000 tonnes – roughly six times as much as the largest aircraft carrier.

This is a gamechanger for the energy industry. The gas will be cooled by cold water pumped from ocean depths. Eight one-metre diameter pipes will extend to about 150m below the ocean’s surface - allowing around 50,000 m3 of cold seawater each hour to cool the gas.

Permanently moored at sea, the facility has been designed to withstand the severest cyclones—those of Category 5.

Engineers built a scale model, eight metres long and weighing 4.5 tonnes, and tested it in tanks in artificial sea conditions. The sheer size of the full-scale facility will help it withstand very high winds and giant waves.‪‪

More than 600 people around the world have spent over 1.6 million hours working on different design options. This has never been done before.
Shell will be deploying this revolutionary technology first in Australian waters, where it will add another dimension to Australia’s already vibrant gas industry.

This is a groundbreaking innovation. It will give the energy industry a significant boost to meeting the world’s growing energy demand for the cleanest burning fossil fuel.‪‪‪‪‪‪

Shell’s decision to make FLNG a reality culminates more than a decade of research and development. It builds on the company’s extensive know-how in offshore production, gas liquefaction, LNG shipping, and delivering major projects. It will be the world’s largest offshore floating facility. ‪‪

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