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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.  read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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: “receptionservices@parliament.wa.gov.au” <receptionservices@parliament.wa.gov.au>

Cc: John Donovan <john@shell2004.com>

Reply-To: Bill Campbell 

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

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Alarm Bells Still Ringing About Shell Prelude

By John Donovan

Printed below in italics is the content of an email sent earlier today to the Australian National Offshore Petroleum and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) by Bill Campbell, a retired senior Shell HSE expert and long-term Shell shareholder. Bill led Health, Safety and Environmental Audits for Shell worldwide. His credentials to comment on such specialist issues are impeccable.

Bill’s email to NOPSEMA is about an article published days ago by the Brisbane Times under the headline: Shell’s Prelude gas vessel faced ‘catastrophic failure’ from power outage. It was authored by a tenacious energy journalist Peter Milne who has been responsible for a series of revealing articles in recent years about the $24b Prelude vessel. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

The Many Growing Pains of Shell’s Prelude FLNG Continue

The Many Growing Pains of Shell’s Prelude FLNG Continue

Journal of Petroleum Technology

Once heralded as an engineering marvel, it has now become one of the biggest engineering disappointments in recent history. This is the story so far of Shell’s Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) plant which suffered a new setback last month after it was ordered to halt production following an onboard fire.

According to multiple reports, the fire occurred in the late evening hours of 2 December and caused a complete power outage on the facility where around 200 personnel live and work. Over the next 3 days, the crew made multiple attempts to regain power but were successful only in restoring intermittent power.

The incident prompted an onboard inspection and investigation by Australia’s National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), which on 23 December ordered the supermajor not resume production.

Shell must now prove to the regulator that Prelude can safely recover from such power losses in the future before it can resume gas production.

Based on its initial investigation, NOPSEMA concluded that “the operator did not have a sufficient understanding of the risks of the power system on the facility, including failure mechanisms, interdependencies, and recovery.” read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

SHELL PRELUDE WHITE ELEPHANT

Expert comments relating to the Peter Milne article for WAtoday:

Shell ordered to shut down Prelude floating LNG until it is safe: 24 December 2021

Comment by Bill Campbell the retired HSE Group Auditor at Shell EP International

Actions by the Regulator should be welcomed.

Not surprisingly, it’s obvious and should be obvious to the keenest shellites that Prelude has serious design and operational problems raising workforce risk levels to unacceptable levels. You simply cannot continue to operate if you are unable to demonstrate through weekly testing that safety-critical equipment, fire pumps and emergency generators et al are available automatically and immediately when called on. This is a legal requirement and a commitment given by Shell in the installations Safety Case. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

How Shell lost control of its $24B Prelude floating gas factory

WAtoday

How Shell lost control of its $24B Prelude floating gas factory

By Peter Milne

In early December a small fire on Shell’s 488-m Prelude gas facility off WA’s coast kicked off a cascade of failures that left about 250 workers, 475 km from Broome, without communications, lights, running water or access to helicopters.

With almost every system on Australia’s most complex offshore facility out of action workers scrambled to restart power that everything depended on, with at least two stretchered to the Prelude’s hospital with heat exhaustion. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Was Shell’s response to Cambo reasonable?

Was Shell’s response to Cambo reasonable?

SOME THOUGHTS FROM A LONG-TERM CONTRIBUTOR TO THIS WEBSITE, A RETIRED SENIOR SHELL OFFICIAL, BILL CAMPBELL

Given that US and China dominate the world’s CO2 emissions you have to ask the question was the Shell response to Cambo reasonable?

UK with its total CO2 emissions just under 3% of the World with the oil and gas sector in the UK contributing circa 25% of UK emissions, but with transport and electricity generation accounting for just over 52%, it makes you wonder since the UK may have to import more oil in the near to medium future (increasing transport emissions) in so doing.  read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Successive Shell CEO’s cannot say that they were not warned time and again about the Prelude experiment

By John Donovan

Successive Royal Dutch Shell CEO’s cannot say that they were not warned time and again in chilling terms about the Prelude “experiment”, the description used in a Forbes article published today.

The links below are to a series of articles, initially triggered by a well-placed whistleblower directly involved in the Prelude project. Includes articles by Mr Bill Campbell, the retired distinguished Shell Global Safety Consultant and another retired Shell guru with a track record of spotting potential pitfalls in major Shell projects. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Shell Prelude FLNG fiasco, late, expensive, dirty, unreliable and dangerous

Expert comments received in response to the BoilingCold article by Peter MilneNo winners from Shell’s $US17B Prelude floating LNG”

Comment from retired Shell International Global Safety Consultant, Bill Campbell:

It’s all rather depressing, most worrying aspect as implied in the article is the potential gas supply, or lack of it, from the homogeneous and shared reservoir with another operator bleeding off volumes.

The boilingcold.com.au journalist Peter Milne has given the most detailed analysis yet of the Prelude story, elements of both tragedy and farce.

COMMENT FROM “AN OLD SHELL E&P ENGINEERING SEA DOG”

As before I feel very sorry for the Aussies who are under extreme pressure to get this unit up and running.  I do not quite understand the journalist comment of “gas is running out”.  It is a shared reservoir therefore there will be an agreement for the total volumes in place and a regular review taking place to determine the remaining producible volumes and the agreed volume share for each operator.

The links below are to a series of articles, many triggered by a well-placed whistleblower directly involved in the pioneering Royal Dutch Shell Prelude project. Includes articles by Mr Bill Campbell above, the retired distinguished HSE Group Auditor of Shell International and another retired Shell guru with a track record of spotting potential pitfalls in major Shell projects.

The fears voiced by Bill Campbell about a loss of containment (see article link 3) have proven well-founded.

Ask the Australian National Offshore Petroleum and Environmental Management Authority.

ARTICLE: Voser wisely abandons an unstable ship: 28 December 2013

ARTICLE: Royal Dutch Shell Prelude to disaster?: 10 Jan 2014

ARTICLE: Shell Prelude FLNG: loss of containment of hydrocarbons almost inevitable: 21 Feb 2014

ARTICLE: What should frighten stiff Royal Dutch Shell shareholders: 15 March 2014

ARTICLE: Tales of the Unexpected and Royal Dutch Shell Prelude FLNG: 28 March 2014

ARTICLE: Prelude FLNG: A case of all your eggs in the one basket: 10 July 2014

ARTICLE: Prelude FLNG risks are on par with modern offshore oil and gas facilities say Shell – but are they?: 23 Sept 2014 read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

LATEST EXPERT THOUGHTS ON PRELUDE EMERGENCY SHUT DOWN

Use your browser to enlarge image

LATEST BILL CAMPBELL THOUGHTS ON PRELUDE EMERGENCY SHUT DOWN

John

It looks like the content of your web pages have contributed to a better understanding of the troubles of this project, at one time heralded as the shining city on the hill.

It seems reading between the lines that the power problems, the terrible PR, the fall in the LNG price etc, but particularly that they could not continue working on the plant intrusively with inadequate isolation, are all factors. 

Perhaps this is a chance to remedy what appears to be a significant amount of defects including defective process isolation and venting in the design, inaccurate drawings P&IDs etc and incorrect identification of equipment – as an example the RV being replaced was wrongly tagged. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Prelude shutdown

Prelude shutdown

OPERATION of the world’s largest offshore facility, Shell’s embattled Prelude floating LNG vessel, has descended into chaos with back up power generation failing, cardboard potties issued to replace regular toilet facilities and a fleet of helicopters called in to reduce crew numbers.

05 February 2020

Only last week Shell chief executive Ben van Buerden told analysts the Prelude was evidence of how new assets would improve the gas giant’s cash flow in 2020. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Shell’s shut down of Prelude – seems alarm bells were indeed ringing, as we suggested just hours ago

Reaction to Shell’s temporary shut down of Prelude

The initial reaction from Bill Campbell

Trying to interpret what is going on is difficult because of lack of detail from journalist report so maybe misinterpreting what happened and my interpretation may be misguided, but… evidence if more is needed that something is wrong on this installation. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Prelude alarm bells should be ringing at Shell HQ

PRELUDE COMMENTS FROM “AN OLD SHELL E&P ENGINEERING SEA DOG”

With reference to the published info from Bill regarding the very serious operational shortcomings on the Prelude NGL vessel.

It may be worthwhile publishing the entire notice as if it read by senior people in the Hague central offices there may be a sounding of very loud alarm bells if not there should be as Prelude represents an enormous investment and a leap into the future.  The root cause of these issues requires to be identified and a root and branch analysis of how and why this state of affairs has been allowed to evolve, I believe it is a cumulative pressure from many sources over many months and not just the recent inspections, its much deeper than that. We can only speculate and read with a degree of horror the findings of the Australian Regulator. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Shell Prelude it appears has inherited the North Sea chronic disease of loss of containment

By Bill Campbell

On 22 January past the Regulator wrote to Shell Australia with a direction, a mandatory notice requiring action by the Owner, because staff on Prelude FLNG were carrying out activities the risks of which were not being reduced to levels as low as reasonably practicable and thus there was a significant risk to the Health and Safety of persons on the facility.

In issuance of this direction, they took cognisance of three previous dangerous occurrences all resulting in a loss of containment, namely read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

Retired Shell Global Safety Consultant says concerns expressed by Australian Regulator (NOSPEMA) about Shell Prelude fully justified

Please read in conjunction with the recent comments made by Bill Campbell in the article Alarming warning to the Australian National Offshore Petroleum and Environmental Management Authority about Shell Prelude Project

By Bill Campbell

Hydrocarbon leaks an ever-present danger – the argument with respect to inevitability

HSE started in 1992 to record and classify dangerous occurrences including hydrocarbon releases. This was adopted as their principal technical integrity measure. In the circa quarter of a century from 1992 to 2015, for example, there were 4656 hydrocarbon releases on average 194 per annum. The latest data available is for 2018 where the number of releases was recorded at 96 per annum, so there has been a trend downwards but this should not be understood to be a significant improvement because the population number of installations in 1992 was larger than the number in 2018 due to installations being abandoned at end of life. In any case, the reality is that over the period 1992 to 2015 there was between 3 to 4 hydrocarbon releases per week and in 2018 there was approaching two hydrocarbon releases per week. This can not be viewed as a significant reduction in risk because hydrocarbon loss into the atmosphere, whether it be minor significant or major, are all classified as dangerous occurrences because of the potential of these incidents. read more

shellplc.website and its sister non-profit websites royaldutchshellplc.com, royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.
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