Shell’s CEO: Prelude FLNG to remain offline for most of Q1

Shell’s giant Prelude FLNG located offshore Australia will likely remain offline during the first quarter of this year following an incident in December last year.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden told media during a call on Thursday after the firm announced its quarterly results that Shell expects the Prelude FLNG, “to be out for most of the first quarter.“

To remind, a Shell spokesperson told LNG Prime in December that the firm had suspended production at the giant FLNG after an incident on December 2.

The spokesperson said that smoke detected in an electrical utility area had triggered the automatic fire detection and management systems on board the FLNG facility located some 475 km from Broome in Western Australia.

Shell also evacuated the majority of workers on board the FLNG as the unit requires only a skeleton crew during a production shutdown.

After that, Australian offshore regulator NOPSEMA visited the FLNG facility giving Shell four directions the firm needs to complete prior to restarting the giant unit.

Covid restrictions

Besides working on the directions, Shell has problems in bringing specialists on board the FLNG due to Western Australia’s Covid-19 restrictions.

“It’s not been made easy because of the pandemic. It’s a remote facility, it’s difficult to get people in,” van Beurden said during the call.

“To get a vendor specialist in means that that person will need to quarantine for weeks before they can go on board, so these problems compound the issue a little bit,“ he said.

“But also we just want to make sure that whenever we restart, we know that we have solved the problem and we can do so safely,“ he said.

The CEO added that Shell works “very closely” with NOPSEMA to do so.

Prelude shipped its first cargo in June 2019 after several start-up delays. The FLNG has the capacity to produce 3.6 mtpa of LNG, 1.3 mtpa of condensate, and 0.4 mtpa of LPG.

Shell operates the floating facility with a 67.5 percent stake. Japan’s Inpex holds a 17.5 percent stake, Korea’s Kogas 10 percent, and Taiwan’s CPC holds 5 percent.

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