Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Arms of innovation | Shell's Prelude

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A chunk of world-first technology...

..a tanker of liquid nitrogen...

..and a team of nervous engineers...

With a prestigious project and years of work behind them,

the test they're about to do needs to succeed.

It's revolutionary -

pushing the boundaries of innovation.

Destined for fields

formerly thought too challenging,

a gas plant

is being shrunk to a quarter size

and carefully squeezed onto a floating hull.

At half a kilometre long,

Prelude is one of the largest structures

that man has ever sent to sea.

Prelude is designed to cool gas to a chilling -162 degrees Celsius.

This shrinks it and turns it into liquefied natural gas or LNG.

The challenge is in transferring this volatile liquid from Prelude

onto a carrier,

while both bob up and down on the surface of the ocean.

The carrier and the facility are moored together

and during this off-loading process they will be moving -

probably in different directions.

Ideally, we would off-load around every five or six days

and we've had to make sure that we can do this safely.

Technology for transferring fuel between planes

has been in use since World War II.

But technology that can speedily transfer

vast quantities of liquid gas between vessels at sea,

has had to be perfected.

That next level of innovation is being created in France.

For the Prelude project to be viable,

this marine loading arm has to work.

Cris Moreno is here to test it for the first time.

There it is. That's the first marine loading arm.

That is just incredible.

That is absolutely sublime.

That's amazing.

Cris' excitement is understandable

when you consider it has taken 50,000 man hours to get to this stage.

The reason why I almost love these loading arms

is they are a first of a kind.

Imagine grabbing something no one has ever played with.

That gives you a sense of enjoyment, fulfilment...

It's also scary at the same time.

You don't really want to take something brand new and break it.

This enormous arm should be able to swivel, rotate

and follow the motion of an LNG carrier

for the 15 hours it will take to off-load.

It's a brand-new arm,

so it's important that we see the system works spot-on first time.

A dynamic test bench mimics the movement of the carrier.

The arm should automatically pull itself into place.

The team watches anxiously.

It's a textbook connection.

Just incredible - the dynamics.

But then, something unexpected occurs.

That wasn't meant to happen.

The loading arm has retracted too far and collided with itself.

The engineers check for damage.

The good news

is that none of the equipment was damaged during the test.

Despite the hiccup, the test is a resounding success,

and with a plan in place to make sure it can't happen again,

they move on to the ultimate test.

Prelude's liquefied natural gas will be stored in colossal tanks

deep inside the hull, at -162 degrees Celsius.

The team in France needs to prove the arm can perform in the extreme cold.

It is effectively the first time

we're running the Prelude LNG loading arm at cryogenic conditions.

Yeah. It is exciting.

They fill the arm with liquid nitrogen.

It's cold, but not flammable like Liquefied Natural Gas.

Once we achieve the low temperatures that we need,

we will complete what's referred to as an emergency disconnection

and that's critical for ensuring the facility remains safe

in case of emergency.

The test bench will simulate extreme sea conditions.

Once the movement exceeds safe limits,

valves inside the arm should close,

allowing it to break away from the carrier.

In this simulated emergency,

only the liquid between the two valves should escape.

If the valves didn't function,

we would see continuous liquid nitrogen

being spilled into the ground.

So there is a very, very strong requirement here

to demonstrate that we do not have that occurrence.

Good result. I'm very happy.

The marine loading arm has functioned perfectly.

It will now be dismantled and shipped to Korea.

Once six more are built and tested,

Prelude will be able to off-load liquid cargo at sea.

The Description of Arms of innovation | Shell's Prelude