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FPSO Off Australia Forced to Shut Down for Further Repairs After Leak

FPSO off Australia shut down for repairs after leak
Work was suspended while repair crews address leaks on the Montara Venture FPSO (Jadestone)

Published Aug 15, 2022 10:12 AM by The Maritime Executive

A problematic FPSO unit located offshore in Australia has been forced to shut down for the second time in recent weeks to undergo repairs after the operator reported a leak in a tank that resulted in an oil spill around the vessel in June. Singaporean company Jadestone Energy said it was suspending production at its Montara oilfield after the discovery of more defects on the Montara Venture FPSO. 

The Asia-Pacific-focused independent oil and gas production company announced the temporarily shut down of production from the Montara field to facilitate a thorough inspection and repair activities of the FPSO. The company anticipates the inspection and repair activities will result in production being suspended during the remainder of August and potentially through September 2022 with the costs of repairing the vessel expected at $2 to $4 million.

“A temporary shut-in of Montara production, in order to replace production crews with maintenance and inspection teams, is the most practical solution which will allow us to apply the necessary additional manpower to accelerate key maintenance and repair activities and restore facility integrity,” said Paul Blakeley, Jadestone Energy CEO.

Suspension of production at the Montara field located approximately 420 miles northwest of Darwin comes at a time when Jadestone is already being monitored by the Australian offshore safety regulator NOPSEMA. In June the regulators issued the company with a prohibition notice following the oil spill. The notice was issued on the basis that the FPSO’s cargo oil tank 2C had structural integrity failures while the integrity of its other tanks was uncertain. Though it undertook an investigation and was satisfied that Jadestone had addressed the immediate risk of any further spill, the authority said it would be monitoring the facility closely.

The most recent problems started in June when a small leak of oil from one of its tanks was detected. Despite an interim repair and subsequent restart of production, Jadestone has been working to complete a permanent repair to the tank. During preparations for the repair, an additional internal defect in a water ballast tank was also detected, which also requires repair.

The permanent repair work plan for the hole in the first tank has been developed but according to the company was delayed due to weather, manpower, and logistics issues. The work plan has been further complicated because the vessel resumed production at the beginning of July after being shut down for two weeks. The company said having the vessel in production made it difficult to simultaneously accommodate an increased number of inspection and repair crews alongside production operations.

It is not the first problem Jadestone reported this year at the Montara field. Earlier in 2022, production was running at reduced rates following an engine failure in the gas reinjection compressor. The engine was replaced and gas lift reinstated at the beginning of March. At the time, the company said its strategy was to increase efficiency and uptime at Montara in part by keeping key spare parts on site.