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Shell Wins Australian Approval for Prelude Floating Platform LNG Project

Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, won approval from the Australian government to proceed with the development of the world’s first liquefied natural gas project using a floating plant

The Prelude project, located about 475 kilometers (295 miles) north-northeast of Broome in Western Australia, was approved with “strict conditions,” Environment Minister Tony Burke said in a statement today.

Shell intends to make a final investment decision on the Prelude venture in 2011, the company said on Nov. 8. Chilling gas to liquid form on floating facilities has yet to be deployed commercially.

The company plans to use what will be the biggest ship in the world to tap fields in the Browse basin off the northwest coast of Australia, where more than a third of the nation’s known offshore gas is located.

Prelude is among A$200 billion ($199 billion) of proposed LNG developments in Australia, as energy companies take advantage of increasing Asian demand for cleaner-burning alternatives to coal.

The Australian government deferred a decision on Shell’s Prelude gas venture four times. The Hague-based company intends to use floating LNG technology, which is aimed at developing gas deposits too small or too far from the coast to be profitably exploited through onshore plants.

Burke last month cleared projects led by BG Group Plc and Santos Ltd. that will convert natural gas taken from coal seams into liquid for shipment to overseas customers.

Source : Bloomberg