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Shell suspends production at Prelude FLNG after fire breaks out

Report: Output from Shell’s Prelude FLNG Shut Again

BY Bartolomej Tomic, managing editor of Offshore Engineer.

December 22, 2022

Shell has stopped production at its Prelude floating LNG plant off Western Australia after a fire.

A Shell spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday that the fire at the giant FLNG unit “was rapidly extinguished.”

The 488-meter-long, Shell-operated, Prelude FLNG unit forms part of an offshore development that produces natural gas from the remote namesake field, located approximately 475 km north-northeast of Broome in Western Australia. The Prelude is the world’s largest FLNG unit.

The first LNG shipment from the project – originally sanctioned in 2011 – was shipped back in June 2019, via the Valencia Knutsen LNG tanker to customers in Asia.

The project had suffered a near-year-long shutdown following an electrical trip in February 2020, resuming output in January 2021.

However, the floating facility was then shut down again in December 2021 after a sudden loss of power, and subsequent failed attempts to re-establish reliable power aboard.

After a four-month shutdown, Shell then in April 2022 resumed shipping of LNG from the Prelude FLNG. Shipments were then disrupted again after workers aboard the FLNG unit launched a strike over a pay fight.

Shell and the unions then reached a pay deal in August, ending the 76-day strike and resuming production. However, production from the facility, which has the capacity to produce 3.6 million tonnes of LNG per year, is now shut down again.

Shell is the project’s operator, with INPEX, CPC, and KOGAS as partners. The FLNG facility was built by the Technip–Samsung consortium in South Korea.


Related Bloomberg article published on the same date. 22 Dec 2022

Shell Shuts Floating LNG Plant in Hit to Asian Gas Supply


(Bloomberg) — Shell Plc suspended production at a floating liquefied natural gas facility off the west coast of Australia after a fire broke out, tightening fuel supplies to Asia right as winter starts to boost consumption.

The “small fire” at the Prelude LNG facility was detected on Wednesday afternoon and was “quickly contained using a hand-held extinguisher,” Shell said in a statement. “Production has been temporarily suspended and an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.”

The outage comes just after Prelude resumed loading this week following roughly two months of maintenance. This is another setback for the world’s biggest floating LNG plant, which has struggled with ongoing technical issues since it started in 2019.

The disruption also threatens to exacerbate the global energy shortage as winter demand for LNG from Shell’s Asian customers hits its peak. The London-based oil and gas major did not say when production would start again at the facility, which has the capacity to produce 3.6 million tons of LNG per year.


Report: Shell suspends production at Prelude FLNG after fire breaks out

Oil and gas giant Shell has shut down production at its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility offshore Australia after a fire broke out on 21 December, Bloomberg reported.

According to Bloomberg reports, Shell said that the “small fire” was detected on Wednesday afternoon and was “quickly contained using a hand-held extinguisher”.

Following the incident, the company temporarily suspended production and an investigation into the cause of the incident is underway.

The production at the Prelude FLNG facility was restarted in September this year when Shell reached an agreement with the Australian Workers’ Union and Electrical Trades Union to end Protected Industrial Action (PIA) that started back in June.



Shell halts operations at Prelude FLNG after fire

Shell has suspended production at the 3.6mn t/yr Prelude floating LNG (FLNG) offshore Western Australia after a fire broke out at the facility on 21 December.

The fire was likely put out quickly with a hand-held extinguisher, said some market participants with knowledge of the matter. An investigation into the incident is likely to follow, they added.

Shell has yet to respond to Argus‘ request for a comment on the incident at the time of writing.

Prelude FLNG likely resumed production at its facility earlier this week after it was shut for maintenance since the second half of October, market participants said. The Methane Becki Anne approached and sailed alongside the facility on 20 December, suggesting that loadings were likely planned to resume this week.

Output from Prelude FLNG was consistently plagued by technical and safety issues for most of this year, following a fire that broke out at the facility on 2 December 2021. Strike action at the facility that started in early June this year further complicated the resumption of production and loadings.

The market has so far shrugged off the latest incident at the facility, given that the facility has not been regularly supplying the LNG market for an extended period of time. Term offtakers of the facility are by now likely more or less prepared to not expect regular deliveries from the facility, some market participants said.


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