The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has warned the UK’s offshore oil and gas operators that they must do more to tackle hydrocarbon releases in the North Sea after coming “perilously close to disaster” in recent years.
The warning comes as the industry approaches the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster. On 6 July 1988, a hydrocarbon release on the platform ignited, killing 167 men. The number and severity of hydrocarbon releases have been a key measure of safety performance ever since, but the HSE says that, despite recent strides to prevent releases, there are still too many occurring.
Potential for Loss of Life
Chris Flint, HSE’s director of energy division, said, “Every HCR (hydrocarbon release) is a safety threat, as it represents a failure in an operator’s management of its risks. I recognise the steps the industry has taken to reduce the overall number of HCRs, however HCRs remain a concern, particularly major HCRs because of their greater potential to lead to fires, explosions, and multiple losses of life. There have been several such releases in recent years that have come perilously close to disaster.”
HSE data on releases shows that releases have dropped from 186 in 2010 to 101 in 2016, though that does represent a steady rise from a low of 81 releases in 2014 (Fig. 1).
In a letter sent to all offshore oil and gas production operators in the North Sea, Flint identifies a number of failings that led to releases, and gives industry until 20 July to explain what measures it is taking to improve performance.
Read the full story here.
Don't miss our latest HSE content, delivered to your inbox twice monthly. Sign up for the HSE Now newsletter. If you are not logged in, you will receive a confirmation email that you will need to click on to confirm you want to receive the newsletter.
1 Nov 2019
- Bali, Indonesia
Registration Coming Soon
23 May 2019 19:30 BST
- Live, then On Demand
17 - 19 Mar 2020
- Bogotá, Colombia
Call for papers open
17 Jun 2019
- Dallas, Texas
Get your training course place today
27 Jun 2019
- Midland, Texas, USA
Reserve your place today
HSE Now is a source for news and technical information affecting the health, safety, security, environment, and social responsibility discipline of the upstream oil and gas industry.
©2003-2019 Society of Petroleum Engineers, All Rights Reserved.