Emerson wins Shell Prelude FLNG maintenance contract

Emerson-Prelude FLNG

Shell's Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas facility. Image: Shell

Shell Australia has chosen Emerson to provide automation services for its Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility.

The size of six aircraft carriers, Prelude is the largest floating offshore facility in the world. It is also the world’s first FLNG development. According to Shell, FLNG is “a revolutionary technology” which will give Shell access to offshore gas fields that would otherwise be too expensive or difficult to develop.

The facility will process natural gas collected from subsea wells 475km offshore from Broome, Western Australia.

Since 2010, Emerson has served as the main automation contractor on the Prelude project, having been responsible for process control and monitoring technologies that will help Shell operate Prelude FLNG safely and efficiently. Under the newly-announced multi-year support contract, Emerson experts working both onshore and offshore will provide ongoing reliability and maintenance services for an even broader range of equipment.

Emerson (along with local business partner Western Process Controls) will provide equipment monitoring, diagnostic services, spare support and maintenance for the facility’s control and safety systems, as well as thousands of instruments and valves.

Two expert engineers from Emerson will work with other team members who remotely monitor the facility’s automation from Shell’s operations centre in Perth. According to Emerson, this will involve consulting with Shell specialists and using a proactive maintenance strategy to detect potential concerns, identify corrective actions and arrange for delivery of any required equipment to the facility.

Prelude is currently under construction in Geoje, South Korea. Once complete, it will move to Australia to begin operations. The facility is expected to remain on station for 25 to 40 years as Shell and its partners develop gas reserves in the Browse Basin’s Prelude and Concerto fields.

Once operational, Shell states that the facility will produce at least 5.3 tonnes (mtpa) per annum of liquids: 3.6mtpa of LNG, 1.3mtpa of condensate (equivalent to 35,000bbl/d) and 0.4mtpa of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Shell expects Prelude FLNG to be “the first of … many FLNG projects, which will build on our existing capability and LNG leadership”.

“It has the potential to change the way we produce natural gas,” said Neil Gilmour, Shell’s vice president of integrated gas development.