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Trailblazing gas project looks like a costly hangover from the past

One of the most eye-catching impairments Royal Dutch Shell announced yesterday was of its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) project off Australia.

The huge project is one of the largest causes of the $8 billion to $9 billion of writedowns Shell warned it would make in its “integrated gas” division, and highlights the changes that have rocked the energy market in the past decade.

When the Anglo-Dutch group approved Prelude in 2011, it claimed the “revolutionary” development would be “a game-changer for the energy industry”.

The market for LNG was booming, with gas superchilled to -162C able to be transported large distances by tanker.

Prelude would, for the first time, see the liquefaction process to make LNG take place at sea, enabling the development…

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