Shell has evacuated non-essential staff from its floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility in northwest Australia as the operator struggled to restore power that knocked out operations last week following a fire last Thursday.
The delay in bringing essential power generators back online at the Prelude LNG export plant had left workers without ventilation, potable water services and a sewage treatment system, said people familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as they’re not authorised to speak to media. The evacuation of non-essential staff was assisted by Inpex Corp.’s helicopter and rescue vessel, the people said.
Shell said in an emailed statement that work to restore main power is underway, without commenting on the evacuation.
The world’s biggest floating LNG plant suspended production and delayed the loading of a prompt cargo on Friday after suffering an issue that tripped power at the facility. The evacuation indicates that the plant could be shut for longer than originally anticipated, exacerbating a global shortage of natural gas.
Shell and its partners are now considering cancelling the scheduled LNG cargo loading due to the ongoing power issue, one of the people said.
The fire in a room of electrical equipment was put out and caused no damage beyond that room, reported WA Today.
“The current technical failures at Australia’s most modern liquified natural gas plant and the only one located offshore are a repeat of events in February 2020 when both power systems failed and workers were moved onshore,” added WA Today.