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NOPSEMA data up to 2020 shows dangerous occurrences on Shell Prelude FLNG being reported every 20 days or so?

WHAT THE PRELUDE FLNG WHISTLEBLOWER SAID IN DEC 2013: “…god for bid if anything should happen on that vessel in the future I want it known that I raised my concerns officially.”: “It will go down like a lead balloon (or possibly prelude) but if I was an Australian I would refuse to work on the vessel…”

Nine years later, the ill-fated vessel has been shut down because of repeated dangerous occurrences and near catastrophe. Shell will not be able to claim that it was not warned again and again. 

By John Donovan

The headline arises from email correspondence between retired Shell Global HSE Group Auditor Bill Campbell and John Donovan on 10 Jan 2022 relating to the Shell Prelude project. The name of a third party copied in on the correspondence has been redacted. 

But first, some extracts from emails from nearly a decade ago sent to me by a high-level whistleblower in the Prelude FLNG project. In the event of a disaster, I feel sure the authorities will be seeking all such evidence, but by then it would be too late to save lives. 

19 Dec 2013

…and also warned shell on several occasions and this advice has been ignored by all party’s as financial interests come before safety and I have serious enough concerns to want my name removed from all records.

I have documentary evidence of the state of the packages being installed on the vessel and manufactured by totally unqualified personnel, failure of any understanding of the standards and regulations by management.

The list goes on and on but regardless of my own feelings my concerns are for the whole industry if this kind of practice goes on and god for bid if anything should happen on that vessel in the future I want it known that I raised my concerns officially.

29 Dec 2013

It will go down like a lead balloon (or possibly prelude) but if I was an Australian I would refuse to work on the vessel as it would never have left the yard in the uk never mind the dock side, it would never have passed qa/qc to shell uk’s standards! But hold on shell don’t have double standards? As there policy’s are worldwide, ha ha ha maybe they should carry out verification of there sub contractors before awarding contracts to any tom Dick or Harry.
XXXXX are a joke to start with and have no experience of Ex work and mostly everything is done by  agency staff for the project, the whole thing is a joke and shell had every opportunity to nip this in the bud but did not? Why there management is as bad as xxxxxxx.

Extracts from email correspondence between Bill Campbell & John Donovan dated 10 Jan 2022 about information posted on the NOPSEMA website. 

On 10 Jan 2022, at 15:28, Bill Campbell <cambell wrote:

Couple of things that will interest you. Remember the Cranes, first news we got that all not rosy on site, Incident Report 6553 dated 27/5/20 reported a dangerous occurrence, 5 topsides cranes found to be source of ignition and isolated, F crane aft of blast was still being used on an ongoing risk assessment, Production operations had started on 26/12/18 so it took a long time to get around to that problem.

My biggest concern, 23/12/19 condensate vapour entered Accommodation Temp Refuge inlets, gas sensors closed inlet dampers, GPA, Emerg Response full muster. The gas had been vented from a condensate tanker during loading as per accepted industry practice they say etc but was said to have accumulated at high levels around the TR closing dampers on level A and B. It was blamed on calm weather low winds not dispersing the vapour cloud.

” the condensate procedure for this subject Prelude FLNG terminal condensate was not approved for issue until 9/ 7/21 to prevent this type of event but on 23?12 what was done did not it appears follow that or any procedure, XXXX these procedures both LNG and condensate are on the web

Operations, what we call in the N Sea, simultaneous Operations or concurrent when for example a vessel undertaking work is tethered to or anchored close to an installation required to be covered in a Safety Case so that the accumulative risks of both entities working in close proximity can be formally assessed. The presentation to WA gov was in May 2015, no mention of tanker offloading was discussed at all

Makes you think, but who is interested!! Preparing detailed analysis of these events but who cares! Coincidentally the data up to 2020, no update, shows dangerous occurrences being reported every 20 days or so


On Monday, 10 January 2022, 17:34:15 GMT, John Donovan <[email protected]> wrote:

Hello Bill

Are you saying that the Australian National Offshore Petroleum and Environmental Management Authority data up to 2020 shows dangerous occurrences on the Prelude being reported every 20 days or so?

Kind regards

On Monday, 10 January 2022, 20:46:11 GMT, Bill Campbell <cambell wrote:

NOPSEMA home website, offshore installations, Prelude FLNG, Directions Notices etc

There are two directions, what we would call prohibition notices, the current one and the earlier one re problems with isolation

In 2018 starting with the berthing issue during trials to end of year, for simplicity I just called it 12 months and divided by the 18 dangerous occurrences posted, circa 365/18 or 20, the rate actual
Y exceeds that but some of the reports are for minor events. Such as safety reps concerns, medivacs for non work related.

They use the term more widely than UK, all told covering 2018 till today 72 reports covering 21 month period, say days one DO report every 9 days.

Example the Crane, prior to start up and earlier intro of NGL teams of bods were doing pre start up check, functional commissioning- takes me back to my early year.

Probably 70 per cent of DO was what the called damage to safety critical equipment, what they should have said more generally was failure of sce to perform as required during testing etc, but also in many cases there was damage, e.g. They imploded the acoustic enclosure of an emergency generator running it whilst not observing fire dampers closed. Lots of process faults, RVs with blanks, sludge in pilot ports etc. Clearly on testing ESD system, it didn’t depressurise the process properly, ESD valves including riser valve was only 70 per cent closed etc etc so if these had not been found they could have caused a lot of problems. But also fires, smoke detection, gas leaks at loading arms, high levels of H2S in sludge tanks, uncontrolled movement of these arms potential single fatality etc.So that’s a flavour and you get weary dude looking through it. The incident numbers nor the dates do not run chronologically and you do not actually know the date and type of incident till you open the PDF.

It’s a very open system and honestly reports things that would not have been reported in Aberdeen. Why journalists and more importantly trade union reps don’t look through these don’t understand but then they were not interested in UK re Brent Bravo debacle


From: Bill Campbell <cambell
Subject: Re: Prelude
Date: 10 January 2022 at 20:52:42 GMT

To: John Donovan <[email protected]>

Sorry should have said 21 months approx from first 2018 incident till early 2020, no reports since then I assume due to backlog or super improvement

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

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