By Sonali Paul
MELBOURNE – Australia’s offshore petroleum watchdog has cleared the way for Shell to restart its Prelude floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) site off northwestern Australia, after a power outage forced a shutdown in December.
Shell has given no timeframe for when production will resume at the 3.6 million tonnes a year facility.
Power was cut at the site after smoke was detected in an electrical utility area.
Following the outage, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority ordered the company to set out a plan and fix any problems to prove the facility could operate safely in the event of a power loss before being allowed to resume operations.
That order was updated to “closed” last Friday.
“Shell notes confirmation from NOPSEMA that Direction 1860 has been closed,” a Shell spokesperson said on Monday.
“We continue to work methodically through the stages in the process to prepare for hydrocarbon restart with safety and stability foremost in mind.”
The outage at Prelude was one factor that drove up LNG prices in December. Prices have since rocketed to record highs as Europe has scrambled for gas to replace Russian exports hit by sanctions.