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Shell Prelude claims are ridiculous make-believe nonsensical drivel?

Expert Opinion on the content of the recent Upstream Online article: “Shell learns from Prelude challenges” 

Rob Jager cannot be as naive as this, he has a  distinguished career in Shell and also been appointed by the New Zealand Government to lead investigations into the tragic Mining accident some years ago.  Clearly not a numpty so why is he making such statements claiming the Prelude is such a magnificent project it will operate perfectly and become boring.

Hydrocarbon Production Operations that I have experienced over many years have never been boring ever.  Every day brings something different to be addressed and Prelude is and will be no different.  Prelude is not receiving a semi-processed feed stack to refine or reform or blend but raw reservoir hydrocarbons.  Even in the case of a rich gas hydrocarbon reservoir, the well effluent will contain a full range of hydrocarbon gas mixtures, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide water vapour and a whole host of trace gasses and other undesirable soluble and insoluble salts.  Notwithstanding during initial production or subsequent well work-over, residual drilling fluids and completion debris some of which will have found its way into the umbilicals and hydraulic well control and safety shut down systems and cause untold havoc.

The wells and processing systems will have to have their safeguarding systems regularly tested and the integrity of the Emergency Shut Down valves established, a key factor in the avoidable tragedy of the Brent Bravo fatalities.  These requirements are set out in detail within the Operating manuals and comply with the laws of Australia.  Conducting these tests is a real challenge especially if there are any deviations requiring corrective action.  We must not forget that the footprint of Prelude is 22 times less than an equivalent onshore LNG plant of the same capacity. So with not enough room the swing a cat the Maintenance teams will be confronted with many mammoth tasks just to keep on top of the unit’s integrity.

We must not forget the requirement for mandatory pressure vessel, the vast array of safety valves to test, pipe thickness monitoring and in the case of Prelude inspection of, boilers, power generation and distribution, the hull and its compartments, both the LNG, LPG and condensate tanks inspection and any repairs as a result.  I could keep going for much longer but it really the same message, raw Hydrocarbon production processing operations and the integrity of a multi-billion $ unit will never ever be routine or boring. If it is or ever claimed to be boring then a couple of very experienced retired Shell Managers and Auditors would soon expose such ridiculous make-believe nonsensical drivel for what it is.

Related Bill Campbell comment:

I might write in more detail but I find it rather ironic that it was this website that was telling the world 6 or so years ago that this installation did not have risk levels as low as claimed and one of the principal risk drivers was the compact nature of a hazardous substances plant with not enough space to swing a cat in. Unless you are not aware I wrote to Shell Australia at the time giving them data from 8 existing or planned onshore LNG plants which varied from 80 to 100 hectares or on average 20 to 22 times the footprint of Prelude, could they tell me as a stakeholder with shares in the Company how they arrived at their ridiculously low number but can guess I assume that a reasonable explanatory reply was not forthcoming, as sure as eggs are eggs if this plant is currently having problems or if it has problems or major accident events in future it will be due to the force fitting a complex plant, with risk levels much above which they have published, on a postage stamp of a footprint. God willing they will never live to regret their fraudulent overly optimistic claims, risk is based on reality not wishful thinking. Bill


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