WA investigates FLNG-related safety issues

WA investigates FLNG-related safety issues

Western Australia government’s Economics and Industry Standing committee issued a report on its inquiry into floating LNG safety‐related matters.

The impetus for this inquiry came from the committee’s previous work on the economic impact of FLNG on Western Australia.

Shell’s Prelude FLNG facility, the first of its type to begin operating in Australian waters when it is commissioned in 2017, will be anchored in commonwealth waters off the Western Australian Kimberley coast. Woodside has also said that its preference for developing its Browse Basin resources is to use FLNG technology, and other operators are also considering using FLNG for their projects. It seems likely, then, that while FLNG is a very new technology, it has significant appeal within the petroleum industry, the committee said in its report.

During the inquiry into the economic impact of projects such as Prelude and Woodside’s proposed Browse Basin development, considerable concern was raised in the relation to the safety of FLNG facilities.

“In particular, concerns were raised about the compact nature of the working environment relative to an onshore processing plant, the fact that FLNG proponents such as Shell and Woodside do not intend to de‐man their facilities during cyclones, and the adequacy of emergency evacuation infrastructure and procedures,” said Ian Charles Blayney, the chairman of the committee.

Besides inquiring into matters relating to FLNG safety, the committee looked into s industry and governments’ capacity and preparedness to respond to a safety or environmental incident involving FLNG, stands in the report.

As the inquiry found, safety of the floating LNG project is the responsibility of the operator while the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority has to be properly resourced to carry out its regulatory functions and that it is able to carry out rigorous and effective assessment and scrutiny of FLNG facilities.

The report also urged the Western Australian government to take a more proactive role.

The inquiry was unable to completely answer the question whether FLNG is safe, but it stressed that in the case of Shell’s Prelude FLNG, all efforts are being made by the operator to reduce the risks associated with the facility.


LNG World News Staff; Image: Shell

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