Unless circumstances change, Australia is expected to be the site of the world’s biggest floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) technology facility late next year as the Prelude field starts pumping out this increasingly popular commodity. Royal Dutch Shell has a two-thirds interest in the innovative project that’s geared toward changing how all forms of natural gas are derived.


It’s been nearly a decade since the Prelude field was discovered. Located off the coast of the northwestern portion of Australia, that Browse Basin discovery was enhanced further two years later when the Concerto field was found. An environmental okay was given by the Australian government in 2010.

The massive size of the facility can be seen through sheer numbers. Due to the facility’s size, the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard was put in charge of construction. Located in Geoje, South Korea, an estimated 5,000 people work on the project during the course of a day. The mere building of what’s now the world’s largest hull took an entire year before its completion near the end of 2013.

The world records don’t stop there. The turret mooring system of the FLNG has already sent five turret modules from its Dubai construction area to South Korea. When the final module is sent and attached, the world’s biggest turret will be put to work.

To grasp the magnitude of the size, the displacement of the Prelude is estimated at over 600,000 tons, compared to an aircraft carrier that’s slightly over 100,000 tons.

What makes this project so different is that liquefied natural gas will not only be produced but also liquefied, stored and transferred from that same area. That saves time and additional shipping costs. The potential amount of gas available is estimated at three trillion cubic feet.