World-first technicians primed for work on Prelude

Friday, 04 April 2014

Australian technicians destined for work on Shell Australia’s revolutionary floating liquefied natural gas project have accomplished world-first FLNG training at Challenger Institute of Technology.

Shell and Challenger Institute’s multi-year partnership to develop customised training for the energy giant’s Prelude FLNG facility marked a major milestone today when a group of Prelude technicians completed the inaugural Shell Prelude Foundation Training program. 

Shell and Challenger are jointly developing the programs which are being rolled out as Shell continues the construction and commissioning of the Prelude FLNG facility, to be stationed in the East Browse Basin off WA’s Kimberley coast.

Challenger’s Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT) in Munster south of Perth is the home base for the programs. Challenger is delivering the training, assessment and assurance of process and maintenance technicians to ready them for work on the commissioning and start-up of the Prelude facility.

Challenger Institute CEO Liz Harris said the partnership will see ACEPT train an expected 200 technicians working in the production, mechanical, instrument-electrical and service areas. The training will feature a strong focus on health, safety and environment.

“ACEPT has been working closely with Shell on a workforce development strategy and to ensure that we understand the specific workplace competencies required for FLNG workers as well as the health, safety, security and environment requirements,” she said.

“The eight-week course involves training in a live process environment to ensure FLNG trainee operators are prepared to work in an operating environment as soon as they graduate.

“This is an exciting and ground-breaking partnership, and an excellent example of a responsive collaboration between industry and the training sector to develop a relevant, highly skilled and job-ready workforce.”

Shell Australia Country Chair Andrew Smith said Prelude FLNG required a new combination of skills and the ACEPT partnership was important in developing the local capability required.

“The success of Prelude FLNG will depend on the people who will operate it, and this training is a key part of building the best operations team for the project. It is great we can provide this training in Perth. 

“The training program will set up ACEPT and WA to become a global leader in FLNG operations, an opportunity that could benefit the state for years to come.”

Shell began recruiting process and maintenance technicians for Prelude’s operations phase in 2013. Recruiting will step up over the next 18 months as Shell builds its expected workforce of 350 people, which will be complemented by around 650 contractors. Another six groups of technicians will undergo FLNG training at ACEPT in 2014.

ACEPT is the only facility of its kind in the southern hemisphere and features a full-scale process plant that allows students to experience a simulated real-life industry environment.

Established through a $21 million investment by the Western Australian and Australian governments, the centre has trained 4,000 oil and gas workers since its inception in 2008.

PHOTO CAPTION: Challenger lecturer Dale Hewitt, with course participants Coralee Alexander and Sean Faherty.

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