Australia’s Woodside investigating Pluto LNG incident

Australian LNG player Woodside has launched an investigation following an incident that took place on Friday at its Pluto liquefied natural gas plant in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Pluto LNG has one train with a capacity of 4.9 mtpa but Woodside and US engineer Bechtel are also building the second train with a similar capacity.

“At approximately 11.30pm on Friday, 26 May an incident occurred in the Pluto flare tower,” a Woodside spokesperson told LNG Prime on Monday.

The Australian firm is currently carrying out planned maintenance at the Pluto LNG facility and maintenance will take place during the next few weeks.

“The facility was carrying out planned maintenance at the time of the event and not producing LNG, condensate or pipeline gas.  The cause of the incident is being investigated,” the spokesperson said. 

The spokesperson said that all personnel are safe and accounted for and there are no confirmed injuries.

Full turnaround scope

“We returned to full turnaround scope today and maintenance work has recommenced as planned. The Pluto flare system has been assessed and is operating safely,” the spokesperson said, adding that there are no impacts to the company’s expected turnaround schedule.

Also, Woodside said that operations at the Karratha gas plant, which is located near the Pluto LNG facility and is part of the NWS project, continue as normal.

A post by Woodside published on the NWS Facebook page during the weekend said that “an audible release occurred in the Pluto flare tower.”

After that, Australia’s Offshore Alliance said in a separate social media post that “Friday night’s explosion at Pluto was not simply an “audible release” as they’ve told employees and contractors.”

“Woodside are lucky that no one was killed or seriously injured as the explosion shook the ground and surrounding crib huts,” Offshore Alliance said.

(Updated with a statement by a Woodside spokesperson.)

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