This story was originally published in The West Australian on 9 June 2018 with the headline "Cool moves bring LNG production closer." © Peter Milne.
Shell’s Prelude floating LNG vessel and Inpex’s Ichthys LNG plant in Darwin have moved closer to production with the cooling of their plants with LNG.
A Shell spokeswoman said the LNG carrier Gallina had introduced gas to the Prelude to cool the tanks and pipes.
The Gallina arrived on Wednesday and left Prelude yesterday afternoon according to vessel tracking site MarineTraffic.
Prelude project director Didrik Reymert stressed the importance of safety now the facility was “live”.
“The risk profile of the facility has changed fundamentally and this has a great impact on how we work,” he said.
The LNG plant on board Prelude will be tested in preparation for the subsea wells being opened.
An Inpex spokesman said its Darwin plant had received LPG and LNG to cool parts of the plant in preparation for start up. The loading of LNG from the Gallina to the Prelude is the first test of the systems Shell designed to allow LNG to be transferred between two moving vessels.
Prelude required loading arms that can swivel, rotate and follow the motion of the LNG carrier for the usual 15-hour offloading process that will occur every five to six days when production starts.
The recently completed loading was unique, as the LNG was flowing in the opposite direction into the Prelude.
Before installation on the Prelude the unique loading arms were tested using liquid nitrogen and a rig that simulated movement in extreme sea conditions. The loading arm had to be able to pull itself into place to connect and release quickly in an emergency.
The giant LNG projects off the WA coast draw gas from adjacent fields in the Browse Basin 475km north-east of Broome.