Gas mon­ster on line

Mercury (Hobart) - - BUSINESS - SONALI PAUL

ROYAL Dutch Shell has shipped the long-awaited first cargo of liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas from its mas­sive Pre­lude float­ing liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas plant.

The ship­ment from the plant, off Aus­tralia’s north­west coast, ce­ments the na­tion’s po­si­tion as the world’s top ex­porter of the fuel. Pre­lude’s start-up marks the end of a $200 bil­lion LNG con­struc­tion boom in Aus­tralia over the past decade, dur­ing which eight plants were built on the east and north­west­ern coasts.

The first cargo had been tar­geted for 2018, but was de­layed as the com­pany tack­led a string of teething prob­lems at the world’s big­gest float­ing ves­sel. At 490m long, the ship stretches to al­most three times the length of the MCG sur­face and is as big as six large air­craft car­ri­ers.

Shell de­clined to com­ment on how much Pre­lude cost, but con­sul­tancy Wood Macken­zie es­ti­mates about $17 bil­lion.

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