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Shell has abandoned plans to have its floating LNG production platform Prelude offshore Australia out for a year for a major overhaul and has chosen instead for a quicker maintenance period of several months, as it looks to take advantage of strong gas demand, industry sources have told Reuters.
Prelude FLNG – the world’s largest floating liquefied natural gas facility offshore Australia – was also the first such platform worldwide, but it has been plagued by issues since shipping its first LNG cargo in June 2019.
Prelude has been under maintenance since August and this would take between two and several months, according to Reuters’ sources and a spokesperson for Shell.
“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,” the spokesperson told Reuters.
Instead of a year-long turnaround, the plant will undergo a much shorter maintenance period, to be up and running for the winter gas demand in North Asia, according to Reuters’ sources with knowledge of the plans.
In May this year, Shell halted production at Prelude LNG due to a trip.
Between July and September last year, production and exports at Prelude LNG were disrupted due to industrial action at the facility as trade unions demanded higher wages.
After the pay dispute was settled, Shell had to shut down Prelude LNG again at the end of 2022 due to a fire that occurred on December 21. A small fire was detected on board Prelude in a turbine enclosure. While the fire was quickly contained using a hand-held extinguisher, and there were no injuries, production at the facility was shut down again. Prelude LNG resumed output around a month after the incident.
Apart from being a major LNG producer, UK-based supermajor Shell is the world’s largest trader of liquefied natural gas.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.