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The World's Largest Floating LNG Platform Restarts Production

The Prelude floating LNG production facility off the coast of Australia has resumed production and exports, operator Shell said today.

Operations at the project were halted earlier this year due to a dispute between the company and workers that led to industrial action.

Following weeks of negotiations, the two parties managed to strike a deal last month and end the suspension of operations at the facility.

"The enterprise agreement has now been supported by a majority of employees in a formal vote and is expected to come into effect in early October 2022," Shell said, as quoted by Reuters.

The Prelude project has an export capacity of 3.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas annually, as well as 1.3 million tons of condensate and 400,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas.

It began production in December 2018 and the first LNG was shipped from the facility a year later.

The operation disruption that the dispute caused earlier this year contributed to an already difficult supply situation in global gas amid the European Union’s rush to stock up on gas ahead of winter.

Under normal circumstances, bringing LNG all the way to Europe from Australia would not make economic sense but this year even this option was on the table as Russia gradually reduced the flow of gas via Nord Stream 1 until it halted it completely in late August.

The biggest market for LNG produced at the mega-projects offshore Australia is Asia but LNG cargos have been diverted from their Asian destinations or resold by their Asian buyers to Europe as the latter was prepared to pay a premium for the fuel.

The mega-projects in Australia helped the country reach the number-one spot in LNG exports a couple of years ago. It was the top exporter last year as well, with a total of 80.9 million tons of LNG exported globally. It is likely to retain the top-exporter crown this year as well.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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