The Prelude facility will be deployed off the Western Australia coast to extract and process gas from the Prelude and Concerto gas fields. The project enables the production, liquefaction, storage and transfer of LNG at sea, as well as the processing and exporting of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and condensate.

So far, around 5,000 people have been involved in constructing the Prelude facility with another 1,000 on the Turret Mooring System, subsea and wells equipment.

Diversity at Shell

The mix of Australians, South Koreans and a number of other nationalities working on the Prelude project has been a triumphant reflection of Shell’s Diversity & Inclusion plan, which aims to provide equal opportunities and create a workplace that supports its entire staff and values their differences. The company is committed to fostering an empowering, stimulating culture where people can bring their ingenuity to work as a foundation for creativity and innovation.

Not only is Shell Australia embracing this vision, it is also turning its Reconciliation Action Plan into reality. The aim is to positively contribute to Australia’s reconciliation journey by acknowledging and respecting the culture and contribution to Australia of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise that true and lasting reconciliation improves prosperity for all Australians, including adding value to the Shell business.

Shell recognises that its people create value and therefore their engagement with the cultural context and alignment to the vision and strategy is a key determinant of the company’s performance outcomes.

To help the Prelude staff realise this vision, a Pride in Production programme was rolled out to help engage all employees with the project’s values: one team together; open and honest communication; learn and grow; care and ownership; continuous improvement; and leadership at all levels.

Spend five minutes talking with any one of the following Australian Prelude workers based in South Korea and it’s clear that these aren’t just buzzwords – these individuals are living them.

australian prelude workers

Cecilia Bulters

Cecilia Bulters

Cecilia Bulters, Inlec Technician

She is an Inlec Technician who previously worked for a Rio Tinto refinery. Having wanted to make the move into oil and gas, she started work with Shell in June 2014.

“Everyone looks after you really well. I’ve never worked anywhere where people text you 10 times a day to make sure you’re all right. Once a week, we leave work at 5pm, often catching up with other colleagues on the project. Once a month, the whole group goes out for a drink.

“You learn so much from each other’s differences – it’s very diverse and culturally rich. Shell did a fantastic job with the recruiting – everyone gets on really well. Sometimes there’s a language barrier with the Koreans, but we have tools to help us and you can always get someone on the phone who speaks both English and Korean to interpret.

“Many of the men on the project have never worked so closely with women but they don’t treat us any differently and they know it’s a more light-hearted workplace with girls around!”

Kane Stocker

kane stocker

Kane Stocker is an Inlec Technician, focusing on safety in relation to the commissioning and start-up, but he’s due to be seconded to the consortium Technip. Kane is from an Aboriginal background, with his parents coming from the Nyamal people from a region within the inner parts of the Pilbara deserts. Kane moved to Perth with his family when he was five years old.

“I live here on Geoje Island and enjoy working with new systems and learning new things. I socialise with everyone, making new friends and networks and doing a lot of team bonding, including snowboarding.

“Korean and Australian safety systems differ, which is a challenge, but it all works out if you treat people how you want to be treated – with trust and respect.

The opportunity to work on the world’s first FLNG facility really appealed to me. When I applied I thought I didn’t stand a chance at all, but now I have been on the project for 18 months and hopefully I can stay here for many years to come. I really enjoy working here.”

Chantal Till

chantal-till

Chantal Till, involved at looking at the electronic Permit to Work system on the Prelude project

Chantal Till's former career was in adult education. Previously she was a Permit to Work Coordinator at Chevron, Barrow Island. Her role with Prelude is Permit to Work Technician and she is actively involved in the electronic Permit to Work system.

"We come across people from all walks of life, but it works really well. These are highly intelligent people who are passionate about what they do. Everyone gets on with each other and understands others' backgrounds and beliefs.

"As for the language barrier, I have learnt to say 'thank you' and 'please' in Korean and in restaurants I just point at pictures of the food. You just need to show you're willing to learn and make an effort.

"Even though the oil and gas industry is traditionally male-dominated, there's no male/female divide here; all the men are absolute gentlemen."

Stacey Abraham

prelude stacey abrahams

Stacey Abraham, a Tasmanian electrician working as an Inlec Technician

Stacey Abraham is a Tasmanian electrician who has been working as an Inlec Technician on the Prelude project since May 2014.

“I will be maintaining electrical equipment on Prelude once it goes operational in Australia. In my role as Inlec Technician I mostly work with men. Shell has done an amazing job in recruiting these men – they are the nicest, most caring and easiest bunch of people I have ever worked with. Within the work group there is a vast age difference, which I think is fantastic. The older guys who have been in the oil and gas industry for decades share their knowledge with us – it is incredible.

“Regardless of age or cultural background, we all socialise during down-time.”

Warren McNamara

warren macnamara

Warren McNamara, Production Technician on the Prelude Project

Warren McNamara is a Technician, working in Utilities. Although he was raised in Mount Isa in Queensland, his family is from the Northern Territory and part of a tribe called Alyawarre. While growing up, Warren spent some time living with family in the remote Alpurrurulam community but moved back to Mount Isa where he entered the field of metalliferous processing that ultimately led to his role as a Production Technician.

“It’s cold out here – being from tropical Queensland, I have to wear scarves and beanie hats!

“The team set-up is really diverse. My direct team mainly consists of South Africans and we have developed great team dynamics and work well together. During lunch times in the canteen, we eat Korean food. The vibe in Korea is great; the Koreans are really friendly, especially if you make the effort to learn a few Korean words.”

Thanks to people like Cecilia, Chantal, Warren, Kane, Stacey, and many others, Shell’s Prelude project has so far seen remarkable global achievements. From the first processing model in South Korea to the construction of the largest turret ever built in Dubai, there are still many successes to look forward to.

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