Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Shell’s giant floating LNG facility Prelude set to ship first cargo when mooring issues resolved

The article below was brought to my attention by industry experts, one of whom made the following comment:

XXXXX was shocked when he read this as the damage to the mooring system was much worse than he originally thought from reports, it appears it may have been the mooring system that has caused delays not so much the process.

Peter Milne: West Australian: Wednesday, 5 June 2019 6:45AM

The giant Prelude floating LNG facility is close to exporting its first LNG, almost two years after it arrived in Australian waters from Korea during which it has had several problems bringing vessels alongside.

Shell director of gas and new energies Maarten Wetselaar yesterday told investors that Prelude had been producing LNG for more than a week and the first shipment of LNG was imminent.

The Spanish LNG carrier Valencia Knutsen, which was moored off Darwin for some days, yesterday moved to the vicinity of Prelude, 475km north-east of Broome, according to vessel tracking site Marine Traffic.

The Valencia Knutsen, helped by three other vessels, briefly manoeuvred alongside the 488m-long Prelude late yesterday before pulling away.

To transfer LNG a carrier must berth alongside the Prelude as the two vessels bob about in the sea and the Prelude “weathervanes” around its mooring turret.

More common floating oil production facilities offload oil to a tanker a safe distance away through long flexible hoses and avoid the difficulties of two vessels being alongside each other.

The Prelude had twice loaded LNG from carriers to use as fuel before it accessed its own gas supply from its subsea wells in December.

In early May 2018, Shell struck problems when it brought the LNG carrier Gallina alongside, according to documents from the offshore safety regulator NOPSEMA obtained by The West Australian through a Freedom of Information request.

An incorrectly assembled tow rope to a tug failed when the 290m-long carrier was just 50m from Prelude, and the operation was aborted.

Nine days later it was thought the Gallina was safely secured to the Prelude by 16 mooring lines that ran through guides on the Prelude called fairleads. As the crew prepared to connect the LNG loading arms a mooring line failed and the Gallina was released and pulled away.

Afterwards, it was found that all 16 lines had been significantly damaged by rubbing against sharp edges of nylon liners in the fairleads.

A NOPSEMA report stated that there could have been a “complete mooring failure” with “potential for serious consequences” if it had occurred later while LNG was being transferred.

Shell vice-president for Prelude Rob Jager said in May that Prelude’s role as an open-sea port was probably the most unique and underrated aspect of the facility.

He said the sophisticated modelling of how the two vessels would move under the influence of wind, waves and currents was ongoing.

“We continue to have to work through to make sure that it gives us a safe, sustainable, predictable way of offloading,” he said.

“Because ultimately, it’s going to be a bit of a production line once this thing is stable and up and running.”


This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.