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Shell to load first condensate cargo from Prelude FLNG project end Jan

Singapore — Shell will load the first condensate cargo from Australia's Prelude Floating LNG project at the end of January or early February, according to shipping fixtures and market participants Thursday.

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Once Prelude's condensate production hits its peak and more cargoes become readily available in the spot market, it could emerge as one of the top alternative feedstock to replace Iranian South Pars condensate for various Asian refiners and petrochemical companies.

The first condensate cargo from Prelude will be loaded in an 80,000-mt clip with a laycan of January 31 to February 2, shipping fixtures showed.

A vessel has not been fixed for the cargo, and Shell began looking for an Aframax tanker to load the cargo Thursday, shipbrokers said. The vessel is yet to be confirmed as the laycan is still several days away for owners to consider, they said.

The destination of the condensate cargo is unclear, although fixtures indicate an eastern destination and trade sources have said that the oil major will likely use the cargo within its own network of splitters and refineries.

Shell has not been actively marketing condensate cargoes from the project in the spot market yet, and an assay has not been made publicly available, trade sources added.

The first condensate cargo comes shortly after Shell announced on December 26 that it had started production of natural gas and condensate from the project, paving the way for the first cargoes of LNG, LPG and condensates to be shipped in coming months.

Prelude FLNG was one of the most anticipated LNG projects in recent years due to the deployment of the world's largest floating facility, with a production capacity of 3.6 million mt/year of LNG, 1.3 million mt/year of condensate and 0.4 million mt/year of LPG.

The facility, located 475 kilometers north-northeast of Broome in Western Australia, is operated by Shell with a 67.5% stake, Japanese explorer INPEX holding a 17.5% stake, South Korea's KOGAS 10% and Taiwan's CPC Corp. 5%.

--Andrew Toh, andrew.toh@spglobal.com

--Wanda Wang, wanda.wang@spglobal.com

--Eric Yep, eric.yep@spglobal.com

--Edited by Haripriya Banerjee, newsdesk@spglobal.com