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Prelude FLNG Inquiry into safety by WA Government

Self-explanatory emails sent to the Australian authorities in the last 48 hours by Bill Campbell regarding the Prelude FLNG Project

From: Bill Campbell Subject: Prelude FLNG Inquiry into safety by WA Government

Date: 8 January 2022 at 15:45:31 GMT

To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>

Cc: John Donovan <[email protected]>

Reply-To: Bill Campbell 

Dear Sirs/Madam FAO Economics Industry Standing Committee members ref their published Report 5 May 2015

Without prejudice and in good faith.

The quoted article published in the Brisbane Times et all and as explained in my Note to the Regulator, see below, which by now is copied and published around the globe explains the recent loss of control (2/12) on the named facility. It talks about catastrophic damage i.e. involving or causing great damage or suffering, in this case to the facility above and its circa 300 occupants.

Catastrophic in the publics eye would be a Piper A or Deepwater Horizon type of event, but certainly an event with multiple casualties and associated damage.

Some Background on sender

For many years I was employed by Shell International and earlier by Shell in Aberdeen.  I was involved in the design of offshore installations in the 80s and as a Chartered Engineer used as an expert witness at Fatal Accident Inquiries on our installations and in the 90s moved to the corporate HQ in The Hague as their principal operations and maintenance engineer.  I know Perth well, and the facilities out on the NW shelf, having carried out technical audits on behalf of Shell on Woodside Energy assets.  

In 2005 I read with some interest the proceedings of your Inquiry which could not for reasons explained by the Chairman state that FLNG was safe but he commented upon the comprehensive work done by Shell Australia to identify the risks of FLNG.  Shell as Operator had a duty in Law to submit its Safety Case to the Regulator identifying all known and credible risks all this you are very well aware off.  However the Regulator in reviewing formal risk assessment can only assess what he is provided with in an open and honest interchange. Satisfied with the outcomes of this process the installation had a fully approved Safety Case.  So confident were Shell, and the Industry witnesses to your Inquiry that it was claimed that FLNG operations had risk levels similar to FPSOs and fixed installations elsewhere in the World, there was no magic in FLNG, bold statements indeed.

In May 2005, reading through your comprehensive report and findings, no one was made aware, no one mentioned at the time the scenario that loss of all power to the facility could, according to NOPSEMA, lead in a relatively short period of time to structural deformation such that the hull may not be able to bear the load upon it and deform or collapse.  It could be that this hazard was not know about or understood at the time but may have developed as a credible in the first months of operation experience and/or following the shut in of the facility for 11 months after the initial power failure.  

It would appear, for whatever reason, your comprehensive Inquiry outcome may have been compromised.  I wrote to the Regulator, see below, to get an understanding if possible of the situation, these matters have also been raised with Shell RDS its CEO and Legal Counsel in The Hague and also the Chairman of Shell Australia.


WM Campbell 

—–Original Message—–
From: Bill Campbell
To: [email protected] <[email protected]>
Sent: Fri, 7 Jan 2022 11:51
Subject: Prelude FLNGReference Recent article in Brisbane Times suggesting that catastrophic damage to the vessel hull could follow from a prolonged power failure when main generations was down, and emergency generators and auxiliary generators were not available (in the circumstances as explained by Peter Milne) the vessel could suffer catastrophic damage, 

Q 1 – Is this fact or fiction, it was said to be based on a NOPSEMA report! Should this report not be made public or at least provided to the installation employees and Safety Representatives as I assume is your statutory duty to make them fully aware of the risks they face.
Q 2 – If not true, do you not have the duty to reassure the employees offshore and their families and Society in general that these claims are not valid 

If NOPSEMA considers that the events explained in the articles are a credible risk to the persons on board the installation why is this hazard and its consequences not covered in the Installation Safety Case, the Shell submissions to the WA government, and the WA government Inquiry into Prelude FLNG risks where safety in design of the Hull, LNG storage, sloshing, ballast etc made no mention of any formal safety assessment related to cooling of the structure and mitigation against such cooling as covered in the said article.

WM Campbell
Ex Shell employee and currently a Shell shareholder  

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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