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Shell loads first condensate cargo from Australia's Prelude FLNG project

Singapore — Shell has loaded the first condensate cargo from Australia's Prelude FLNG project, the company said Monday.

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"We can confirm that the first shipment of condensate has sailed from the Shell-operated Prelude FLNG facility. This is another step towards steady state operations," a Shell spokesperson said in an emailed response.

The Shell-controlled Aframax tanker, Advantage Atom, departed from Prelude FLNG on March 20, S&P Global Platts vessel tracking software cFlow showed.

Australia crude oil, condensate exportsThe vessel indicated Singapore as a destination for the cargo, cFlow showed. Trade sources said the cargo will be used within Shell's network of splitters and refineries, though this could not be confirmed with Shell.

The Malta-flagged Advantage Atom has been on a five-year time charter to Shell since 2015, according to shipbrokers.

It ballasted unladen from Singapore on March 15.

Prelude FLNG is one of the most anticipated LNG projects in recent years due to its deployment as the world's largest floating facility, though it has experienced delays due to unspecified production issues.

Shipping fixtures in January indicated that the first cargo was loading end January, though this was subsequently delayed to February and then to March.

Trade sources said the second cargo from the Prelude FLNG project will be loaded in May, with Shell possibly offering the cargo privately in the spot market, though this could not be confirmed with Shell.

LPG traders said the first LPG cargo from the project was expected to load around two months later, in May or June.

"The focus continues to be on providing a controlled environment to ensure Prelude will operate reliably and safely now, and in the future," the spokesperson said, declining to give further details.

The Prelude FLNG project has 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 with 17.5%, South Korea's KOGAS with 10% and Taiwan's CPC Corp. with 5%.

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

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

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

--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@spglobal.com