Shell’s floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility Prelude has officially entered into Lloyd's Register class. At 488 metres long, 74 metres wide and displacing about 600,000 tonnes of water, Prelude is the largest floating offshore facility in the world. 

Last month Prelude arrived at its operating location in the Browse Basin, offshore northwest Australia. It will be moored at a depth of 250 metres and will not be dry-docked for the first 25 years of its expected 50-year operational life. The facility required around 260,000 tonnes of steel to build and its turret is the largest ever built. It has been designed to withstand category five cyclones and its technology has generated over 150 patents.

LR has been actively involved with the project from the start, helping to ensure it will operate safely by applying FLNG expertise through classification, equipment certification, validation and verification against performance standards.

Prelude’s substructure and turret have been designed and constructed in accordance with LR’s Rules for Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location and its topsides certified to an agreed set of industry codes and standards. LR also confirmed compliance of the facility with Shell’s design and engineering practices, where applicable, and the performance standards specified by Prelude’s safety case.

Daryl Attwood, LR’s Prelude Project Director, commented: "It has been a great honour for us all to participate in this world class project, collaborating with an excellent group of clients represented by the best managers and technical experts from Shell, Technip, SBM, and SHI. LR project managers, design appraisal specialists and surveyors from Aberdeen, London, Dubai, Perth and Korea have contributed significantly to getting the facility to this stage, ably supported by colleagues certifying equipment packages literally around the world."

The intended risk based classification scheme is expected to benefit from use of the latest in remote inspection technologies to gather accurate and repeatable survey data to allow a predictive and focused approach. The LR team in Perth will be welcoming colleagues from LR’s Geoje office in the coming months to assist in the transition from the yard through offshore commissioning to the operations phase.

Jeff Baker, LR’s Offshore Business Development Manager for Australasia, said: "The LR Perth team is privileged to support this exciting, huge and complex project going ahead and to continue the strong business relationship between Shell and LR globally. By using the latest in ROV and AUV deployed equipment, we see big opportunities for improvement in the safety, accuracy and manner of offshore facility inspection in service and we anticipate that this will flow on to a new way of approaching classification."