The Netherlands: FLNG Vessel as Safe as any Other Offshore Facility, Shell Says

Royal Dutch Shell plc, Europe’s largest oil company, says its floating liquefied natural gas production vessel that may be deployed offshore Australia is as safe as any other modern offshore facility.

“Shell has done an awful lot of work on safety and this design has risk levels that are on par with other modern offshore facilities,” Barend Pek, general manager of floating LNG at Shell, said at a conference today in Rotterdam. “Safety is the big driver of the design.”

Shell racing to be the first to develop such a vessel that may unlock hundreds of deposits that were previously too far from land. Shell has ordered 10 of the US$5bil behemoths, which are almost 50% larger than a US aircraft carrier, and expects to begin production in 2016 at its Prelude field, 200 kilometers (124 miles) offshore Australia.

Producers are betting the floating vessels may allow them to accelerate a move to gas as oil reserves dwindle and governments from Russia to Venezuela guard deposits. Shell expects gas to make up the majority of its output by 2012 as the fuel gains in popularity because it releases less carbon dioxide amid calls to combat climate change.

The area where Shell plans to deploy the units is known for hurricanes and the models have been tested for such an event, Pek said. “We have been simulating very severe weather conditions and the level where you would stop operating the vessel is not 100 percent defined, maybe hurricane of category 3 or something like that,” Pek said.

Source: Star (Malaysia) , October 21, 2010;

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