Enormous Prelude FLNG vessel arrives in WA waters

Prelude FLNG on its way to Australia

Subiaco Oval in Perth, at 175m, is generally recognised as the longest ground in the Australian Football League.

Those who have sat at the top of the three-tier stand at Subi would understand it can be difficult to clearly see what is happening at the other end of the field, especially on a typical rainy Western Australian winter day.

If the length of the WA football oval is a challenge for the short sighted then the massive size of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility will be well beyond their reach.

At 488m, the Prelude facility not only dwarfs Subiaco Oval – at more than 2.5 times its length – but is also regarded as the biggest vessel the world has seen.

The FLNG vessel arrived in WA waters this week on its way to the Prelude site around 475km north east of Broome.

WA, therefore, hosts not only the longest AFL ground (that is until the new Perth Stadium opens next year), but also the most extensive sea vessel as well – something of an achievement.

Prelude is not, however, just an incredible engineering feat – it will also be a generator of significant economic benefits for the state and nation, as Shell Australia chairman Zoe Yujnovic explained.

Yujnovic said Shell had awarded most the Prelude contracts locally, including a $200 million maintenance and modification agreement with Perth-based engineering company Monadelphous.

“To develop and maintain a safe, high performance culture on the facility, Shell has partnered with South Metropolitan TAFE in WA to develop specific training for Prelude technicians,” Yujnovic said.

“One hundred and fifty technicians have been trained across a broad range of critical skills, including helicopter landing and refuelling skills, rigging, scaffolding and first aid.

“WA-based company CIVMEC, a construction and engineering services provider, constructed the four massive anchor piles for Prelude’s subsea flowlines from their facility in Henderson.”

Prelude will employ 260 local workers on board the facility during operations and create over a 1500 jobs during the hook-up and commissioning phase of the project, according to Shell.

Exciting times for WA’s LNG industry. It could even be said that while one era is ending for a major industry in the state – with Subiaco Oval’s time as the premier football ground in its final weeks – a new era is set to begin offshore its coast for another industry.

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