PICTURES: Shell's gargantuan 'Prelude' is the world's largest floating structure and it's on its way to Australia

Spot the hardhats. Picture: Shell

The Prelude FLNG is on its way to Australia, and it will be hard to miss.

FLNG stands for Floating Liquefied Natural Gas. Prelude FLNG is Shell’s monster new facility and it left the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, on June 26. Her keel was laid on May 8, 2013.

It will be stationed at Shell’s gas field two hours by helicopter north-north east of Broome, WA. Fully operational, it will harvest at least 5.3 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of liquids – 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate and 0.4 mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas.

When you’re this big, you need two helipads:

Picture: Shell

Footage of its construction shows a beast that could double as a Decepticon party liner:


Picture: Shell

16 mooring chains have already been fitted to the seabed and are waiting off Broome to be lifted so they can anchor the Prelude in place for up to 25 years. They’ve been rated to withstand a “one in 10,000-year storm”.

Up to 140 people will be working on it at any one time.

Want more numbers? Shell has the bullet points you need:

  • 600 – Engineers who worked on the design options
  • 4 soccer fields – still not as long as Prelude’s deck
  • 175 Olympic-sized swimming pools – in the facility‚Äôs storage tanks
  • 50 million litres – cold water drawn from the ocean every hour to help cool gas
  • 6 aircraft carriers – to displace the same amount of water as Prelude
  • 93 metres – height of the turret, secured to the seabed by mooring lines
  • 117 – % of Hong Kong’s annual natural gas Prelude could meet in a year

Here’s a timelapse of it leaving South Korea for Broome:

And it’s called Prelude. So what comes next?

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