Japan’s Inpex Corp. has marked another construction milestone at its Ichthys project after launching the central processing facility (CPF).

The CPF, understood to be the world’s largest semisubmersible, was officially launched from the offshore floating dock at the Samsung Heavy Industries shipyard in Geoje, South Korea, where it has been under construction since 2013.

Inpex Australia president director Australia Seiya Ito said the successful launch was one of the project’s most significant achievements.

“To see this enormous facility in the water is a testament to those who have worked for years to make it a reality,” Ito said.

“This milestone is a clear demonstration that the Ichthys LNG project is making good progress and that we are working in an excellent spirit of cooperation with our Korean contractors.”

Ichthys project managing director Louis Bon said the operation was completed within two days in safe conditions.

“The CPF is now berthed quayside at the shipyard where work is continuing to lift and install the living quarters and integrate and commission all equipment in preparation for the CPF’s sail away,” he said.

“All teams are working together in a very efficient manner to achieve our next targets.”

Once completed, the CPF will be towed 5,600 km to the Ichthys Field in the Browse Basin, offshore Western Australia, where it will be permanently moored for about 40 years by 40,000 t of chain secured to about 20,000 t of foundation piles.

The Ichthys project is a joint venture between Inpex, French major Total and the Australian subsidiaries of Tokyo Gas, Osaka Gas, Chubu Electric Power and Toho Gas.

Along with announcing a 10 percent project cost blowout to $US37.4 billion, Inpex recently lifted the anticipated annual LNG production capacity for the two-train project from 8.4 Mtpa to 8.9 Mtpa.