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    Shell ordered to halt work at Prelude LNG off Australia

Summary

Shell reported a fire onboard the floating facility in early December.

by: Daniel Graeber

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Shell ordered to halt work at Prelude LNG off Australia

Shell must halt work at its Prelude floating LNG project off the coast of Western Australia until it can show it is safe to operate in the event of a power loss, an Australian regulator said December 23.

Shell said December 3 its Prelude LNG unit was sidelined after smoke was seen at an electric unit. The facility turned to backup diesel-fuelled generators in the interim.

Workers onboard were unable to communicate with the outside world and plumbing and air conditioning failed under the backup power system. The onboard fire never left a room housing electrical equipment and Shell said all workers were safe, though operations from Prelude are still suspended.

Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) on December 23 issued a notice to Shell calling on it to investigate the incident and its consequences. Once that is complete, the company needs to “develop a detailed plan” to address any corrective actions and present that to regulators.

Before Shell can continue with its operations, it needs to demonstrate to NOPSEMA that Prelude can safely recover from a power loss and that systems can continue to operate for the sake of crew safety.

Shell needs to provide a report on its progress to NOPSEMA each month starting March 2022.

NOPSEMA staff visited Prelude earlier this month.

The floating facility, located off the coast of Western Australia, has a peak capacity of around 3.6mn mt/year.

Australia’s LNG potential was curbed further by outages at the Gorgon facility on Barrow Island off the coast of Western Australia. US major Chevron told the Reuters news service December 3 that one of the three production there was offline due to pipeline repairs.