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Shell Prelude Anxiety

By John Donovan

Just over a month ago, in the context of informed speculation by retired Shell experts from snippets of information that have leaked out, I asked the question:

Is all well with the Shell Prelude FLNG Project? 

A number of things have happened since publication, including todays announcement of Tom Summers exit from his VP role at Shell Energy Australia, linked to continuing delays in the Prelude project.

Add in the appointment of Rob Jager as VP Prelude, Shell Australia, and the secondment to Prelude of outside technicians from LNG production company Atlantic, it seems that the project may indeed be in a state of flux.

Some more recent exchanges between the same retired Shell experts: 

Tanks full of cold stuff in early June, installation all live since although levels of helicopter traffic suggests to the experienced eye that the numbers of workers being transported in and out to the Vessel are more akin to an installation still in construction mode.  Is the process unable to chill the gas? Are significant modifications to recover the situation ongoing? We can only speculate.

Shell Australia will not say, last PR release was in relation to recruitment opportunities with nothing about current status of live commissioning. No statements at all since LNG was imported coming up for 3 months ago.

Response:

Apparently 4 of the 6  tanks were needed to take the full delivery and cool down. From what I can glean from various “crumbs of info” is that the delivered LNG boil off is being used as fuel rather than diesel.  As the delivered LNG is the end product there is not much of it is any good for starting  up the main process.  As you suspect there appears to be a “big glitch” somewhere which no doubt will be causing much anxiety at the higher levels of our ex employers!  I genuinely feel for the guys on board trying to get the show on the road.

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