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Shell Expands Resource Base for Prelude LNG

Shell has announced a “significant” gas and condensate discovery within reach for a tieback to the Prelude FLNG facility in the Browse Basin off Western Australia.

Drilling of the 100 percent Shell-owned Bratwurst -1 exploration well was successfully concluded on December 4 after nearly 80 days of drilling. This campaign was completed in just over 18 months from bidding and 12 months from award of the lease block title, Shell said.

The discovery is located 85 nm to the northeast of the Shell-operated Prelude FLNG facility and offers an opportunity for a future tie-back to Prelude.

“Gas is a core component of our strategy to provide more and cleaner energy solutions,” said Zoe Yujnovich, EVP for Shell Australia. “Today’s announcement shows how, through exploration, we are building a strong pipeline of discoveries to support our assets in Western Australia.”

Prelude began operations in December 2018, and it shipped its first cargo of natural gas condensate in late March. It shipped its first LNG cargo in June. At peak capacity, the Prelude FLNG facility will produce 3.6 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate and 0.4 mtpa of LPG. The facility is operated by Shell in joint venture with Inpex (17.5 percent), KOGAS (10 percent) and OPIC (five percent).

The Prelude FLNG is among the world’s largest vessels, weighing in at 600,000 tonnes displacement (behind the 900,000 ton-displacement Pioneering Spirit). It is also a contender for the title of the world’s most expensive vessel of any kind. Its total cost has not been disclosed, but it is estimated in the range of $12-14 billion. The only close competitor, the next-generation aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford, cost about $13.1 billion (not including $4.7 billion in R&D).

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