Cargo liftings at Shell’s Prelude FLNG in the Browse Basin offshore Australia have been temporarily suspended while work continues on repairs to restore the facility to full operation
LNG production at the world’s largest floating LNG (FLNG) facility was halted following an electrical trip issue on 2 February.
“Our focus remains on a facility that is safe, robust and reliable, and we are working to restart production with that in mind,” said Shell in a statement. “The shipping schedule has been proactively adjusted, with cargoes temporarily suspended.”
It has been a bumpy start for the Prelude FLNG facility, which began commercial LNG production in June.
On 22 January, Australia offshore energy regulator National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) issued a general direction to Shell Australia Pty Ltd in relation to increasing deficiencies with the safety management system (SMS) regarding the isolation of plant and equipment to conduct intrusive activities at the Prelude FLNG facility.
In its Direction – section 574 to Shell Australia Pty Ltd, NOPSEMA reported there have been three notifications of dangerous occurrences at the Prelude FLNG facility that its inspectors attributed to deficiencies in aspects of the SMS that relate to the safe isolation of plant and equipment. NOPSEMA reported the three events as:
NOPSEMA inspectors attributed the dangerous occurrences on 10 December and 9 January to the deficiencies in the SMS for the safe isolation of plant and equipment. The inspectors noted inadequate descriptions and training for how to control the venting of flammable hydrocarbon where there is a risk of ignition; and how to identify or tag the equipment to be worked on.
NOPSEMA inspectors have concerns with multiple aspects of the SMS which may have contributed to these and potentially future events. NOPSEMA said the events of late 2019 and early 2020, and the findings from the associated investigations, led its inspectors to the conclusion that risks associated with conducting intrusive activities at the Prelude FLNG facility, were not being reduced to as low as reasonably practicable, and there was a significant risk to the health and safety of staff at the facility.
Located approximately 475 km north-northeast of Broome in Western Australia, Prelude FLNG facility has the capacity to produce 3.6 mta of LNG, 1.3 mta of condensate and 0.4 mta of liquefied petroleum gas. Prelude FLNG facility is operated by Shell in joint venture with Inpex (17.5%), Kogas (10%) and OPIC (5%).