Shell's Australian FLNG Facility Poised for Mid-November Restart

Shell is expected to complete maintenance at its flagship Prelude liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility off Australia by mid-November, two sources close to the project told Reuters on Wednesday.

The British energy giant started maintenance work at the 3.6-million metric ton a year floating LNG plant in August. A top Shell executive then said in September it was a "major turnaround" work that would last roughly two months.

The maintenance is now expected to be completed by mid-November, slightly longer than initially planned after several new issues were discovered and fixed, one of the sources said.

"The first LNG delivery cargo is now expected by mid-November," the second source said.

The last cargo to have left the facility was on Aug. 19.

"Shell regularly undertakes maintenance at all its facilities as required to ensure they are delivering safe and reliable performance over the long-term. Turnaround at Prelude commenced in August and is expected to take several months," a Shell spokesperson said.

Prelude, whose deck is longer than four soccer fields, was the world's first floating LNG facility to use novel technology and cost over $12 billion, according to estimates.

The facility, some 475 kms (300 miles) off the west coast of Australia, has suffered a string of outages since it started production in June 2019, including a fire that led to a full power loss in December 2021.      

Reuters reported in September that Shell considered shutting Prelude for a year to fix issues that have plagued its operations, but instead opted for a shorter maintenance period.   

(Reuters - Reporting by Marwa Rashad and Ron Bousso; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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