Meet Jeremy Walker, Lead Production Technician on Prelude
Nov 17, 2017
After working in Geoje, South Korea, on the construction of the Prelude FLNG facility, the Australian Operations Team are now working on the facility offshore. We hear from Lead Production Technician Jeremy Walker on what life is like now Prelude is on location.
Jeremy Walker on Prelude by the accommodations support vessel gangway
Jeremy Walker’s two sons, Finn and Lachlan
What is your role on Prelude FLNG? And how long have you been with the project?
In August 2013, I was employed by Shell as a Production Technician, focusing on the utilities systems, in a field and panel commissioning, along with, operations assurance and readiness role, on the Shell Prelude FLNG project based in Geoje, Korea.
My current position is Lead Production Technician / Permit to Work Facilitator on Prelude FLNG, working a rotational shift pattern of three weeks on the facility at a time.
Can you give us an insight into what your work day looks like?
As a Permit to Work Facilitator, I start my work with a handover from my opposite, at 05:00 or 17:00, with my day finishing around 18:00 or 06:00 each day. I rotate one three week rotation on nights, and the next one on day shift.
My key responsibility is to facilitate the safety critical process of Permit to Work, onboard Prelude. This supports the operations, maintenance and project work activities by ensuring work scopes completed safely and correctly, in collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders.
What attracted you to working on the Prelude FLNG Project?
The opportunity to work as part of a team, in a challenging environment, where I can grow and develop myself professionally and personally.
Having a background in the Instrumentation Electrical (INLEC) trade and Operations, along with previously working on an offshore fixed leg platform, Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) facility and an onshore LNG gas plant, it was a great lead up to my role on Prelude. This mix of experience prepared me to be able to contribute and have a skill set to offer the Prelude FLNG team.
Working offshore is a very efficient way of working for me. It enables me to commit and focus on the work when I am offshore, and focus on family and other pursuits when I am home.
How does it feel to be working on Prelude now it’s on location? Have you worked offshore before?
Although I have worked offshore before, the Prelude experience is different as right now in the hook up and commissioning phase there are a lot of people on the facility. That, along with the INPEX Ichthys project which is visible from the Prelude facility, it is very hard to feel isolated on location – which is something I’ve experienced whilst offshore at other sites.
We are at a very busy stage on Prelude, however the team is performing well and pulling together to support each other.
Our workplace is our home while we are here, so my feeling is that people make more of an effort to get along and understand one another’s perspective, as we get to spend a lot of time together outside of working hours as well.
What is life like on the FLNG?
The focus is on the work, which can be challenging for some as you never really leave your workplace, but there are many distractions and opportunities available to take your mind off work. Onboard the facility there is a gym, screen golf, PlayStation, movies, board games, yoga and fitness classes, along with other activities which gives you the opportunity to recharge the batteries in preparation for the next day.
The internet, WIFI and phone access gets better the longer I stay in the offshore industry. When I first started, phone calls were made from a phone booth, with no phones in your own room and TV or movies were watched in a common area. WIFI was non-existent and emails had to be done on work computers.
On Prelude, we have phones in our rooms and televisions with selectable entertainment and WIFI, so technology has come a long way and it is a lot easier to stay in contact with home.
What has been your highlight working on Prelude so far?
My first helicopter landing on Prelude. It made it real, that the facility was on location and we were going to start up this new facility that for a long period had been in a ship yard. It was an exciting moment – that was a step change for me.
Can you tell us about your journey from home to the facility?
I live in Perth, so my journey from home to the Prelude FLNG facility consists of a flight up to Broome the afternoon before I am due to start work, an overnight stay in Broome, then an early morning helicopter flight from Broome to the facility the next day.
Or, it is a 03:30 am start, getting to the airport at 04:30 am for a 05:55 flight to Broome and a mid-morning helicopter flight to Prelude FLNG. The helicopter flight from Broome takes approximately two to two and a half hours. We arrive on the facility and either get some sleep before night shift, or work the first day until 18:00.
Have you managed to explore Broome at all?
I have overnighted in Broome twice and the sunsets from Cable Beach are an experience everyone should try to see at some point!
Any advice for those who may wish to work in the energy industry in offshore roles like yours?
The energy and offshore industry has opportunities for people from different backgrounds, cultures and disciplines. It is a great industry in which to gain experiences which can lead you to discovering different fields of expertise that you are interested in, and a realization of the value, your personal strengths and skills can bring to your professional and personal communities, and the industry. By putting your hand up, being open to new experiences and grabbing opportunities, it can lead to a fulfilling career and life.