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Shell temporarily shuts Prelude offshore LNG plant

Shell, Europe’s biggest oil and gas group, has reportedly temporarily suspended operations at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant. The oil conglomerate, which is the world’s biggest independent LNG trader, said a small fire was detected on Wednesday in a turbine enclosure on board the facility, 120 miles off the coast of Australia. It stated that although it was extinguished with no injuries, “production has been temporarily suspended and an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway,” Shell said.

Prelude, the biggest floating object ever built theoretically is capable of producing almost 1 per cent of global LNG supplies, but it has been plagued by a variety of problems that have repeatedly forced it offline. The facility weighs 600,000 tonnes fully laden, cost an estimated $17 billion to build, well over its original $11 billion budget, and started up later than planned in 2019.

It was shut down for much of 2020 owing to technical problems and was shut down again after a fire in December 2021, that regulators said had left it at risk of catastrophic failure. It restarted, only to be hit by strike action in the summer that forced it to close down once more at the height of the global gas price rise.




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