Shell says Prelude FLNG maintenance to take several months

LNG giant Shell has shut down its Prelude floating LNG producer offshore Western Australia for scheduled maintenance which it expects will take several months to complete.

The 488 meters long and 74 meters wide FLNG shipped its first cargo in June 2019 after several start-up delays.

It has the capacity to produce 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate, and 0.4 mtpa of LPG.

Shell operates the floating facility with a 67.5 percent stake. Japan’s Inpex holds a 17.5 percent stake, South Korea’s Kogas has 10 percent, and Taiwan’s CPC holds 5 percent.

In September last year, Shell resumed cargo loading operations at Prelude after it reached an agreement with unions representing Prelude FLNG workers to end a long strike.

After that, Shell closed the unit in December the same year due to a fire and resumed shipments in January.

Shell again temporarily suspended production on the giant FLNG on May 10 due to a trip and resumed production two days after that.

Rescheduled maintenance

Reuters reported on Thursday, citing three industry sources, that Shell considered shutting its flagship Prelude facility for a year to fix issues that have plagued its operations.

The news agency claims Shell instead opted for shorter maintenance period, and will not address all the design issues, to allow it to capture strong gas demand.

LNG Prime invited Shell to comment regarding the matter and provide additional information on the planned turnaround at Prelude.

“There has never been a plan to shut Prelude down for 12 months for maintenance either in situ or offsite,” a Shell spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that turnaround is a major planned maintenance activity that takes place at every LNG facility every few years.

“The current turnaround at Prelude commenced in August and is expected to take several months. This turnaround was originally scheduled to be completed in 2022 but was rescheduled to August 2023 due to industrial action, followed by cyclone season,” Shell’s spokesperson said.

“Prelude’s operational performance has improved considerably since initial start-up and the asset achieved record performance in the first half of 2023,” the spokesperson added.

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