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Further expert comment on the Shell Prelude debacle

Bill Campbell provides further expert comment on the Shell Prelude debacle

By Bill Campbell

I was a bit under the weather yesterday and was a bit fed up really with banging head against the wall, short of time when got an email about NOPSEMA so apologise for what was a scrawl but an attempt to give you both a flavour of what must have been putting guys offshore under pressure.  An inordinate amount of Alarms and musters also. But remember a number of the DO were happening in the period when the plant was down so risk levels may not have been high. 

From preparation for entry of NGL into tanks and up to first production teams must have been going at it testing etc and this MAY account for the worrying number of DO reports, what is apparent was that the commissioning phase was uncovering a considerable amount of mal design or SCE equipment malfunction, it reinforces the gut feeling was that behind the glossy videos and the stats i.e. the capacity in swimming pools, the aircraft carrier size comparisons all a jolly good show, high morale, motivation etc all I was thinking about was the 6000 + flanged joints playing in my mind the extremes of mathematics that as potential sources of containment rise towards infinity then the probability of loss tends to certainty, km’s of pipes and 1000s of joints is not necessarily something that Xxxx and I would celebrate. 

Anyway since May 2018 to end of 2020 72 reports 

From that period to present-day zero no reports on the NOPEMSA site, why? maybe putting this amount of bad news on a public domain website was coming political sensitive!! or the poor folks filling out the forms in Perth were exhausted or missing due to COVID? 

Xxxxx, I am at the mercy of your infinite knowledge and connections, understand its a long time since you have seen an LNG tor Condensate carrier in anger. 

Those FLNG Terminal procedures, venting of condensate vapours allowed!!, Venting of condensate tanks verboten. This suggests to me that the master can control all this and the safety instruments and controls do not OPERATE AUTOMATICALLY to vent LNG or for that matter condensate in an unplanned manner especially when tank fill is reaching its capacity when this appears is when venting tends to happen if the inflow rare has not been reduced as appropriately.

Is anyone in the lodge of Ancient Mariners Union able to explain this, in short irrespective of procedures if pressure etc rises to unacceptable levels will it vent out of the Masters control as a safety requirement, a simple question that may have a complicated answer? 

Bill

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