Only a prelude to more floating gas plants
Oil and gas company Shell plans to build more floating liquefied natural gas plants after developing its world-first Prelude project off the coast of Western Australia.
But the global leader in floating gas processing would not reveal whether it would develop more than one floating LNG plant for Woodside Petroleum's Browse joint-venture project.
"I don't believe any one of the players has actually mentioned any numbers," Shell Australia general manager for production Michael Schoch told a gas technology conference in Perth. "I'm not privy to the Browse discussions and indeed that's something for the operator to lead and the joint-venture players to make a decision on."
Woodside recently agreed to use Shell's floating LNG technology if it proceeds with a floating option for its Browse gas project in Western Australia's Kimberley.
The agreement, with Shell, Woodside's main shareholder and a participant in the project, came after Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman said floating LNG technology had the potential to commercialise the Browse gas resources faster than any other option.
It would involve Browse Basin gas being processed on a large purpose-built vessel stationed far off the coast, which has angered Premier Colin Barnett, who believes an onshore plant will bring more benefits to the state, including jobs.
Mr Schoch expects Prelude will be the first of several floating LNG projects in the state.
"Expertise gained from the Prelude project will help develop other floating LNG opportunities, with the expertise residing here and the world will be looking at us."
Prelude, off the north-west coast of the state, is expected to produce 3.6 million tonnes of LNG a year.
Mr Schoch said Australians would make up most of the workers on the floating processing plant, and by 2015 Shell expects the workforce of its Perth head office to have doubled to 1000.
Prelude is expected to deliver $45 billion in economic growth for the nation, including $12 billion in taxes.