Gas Leaks

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Safety watchdog in Norway warns operators

The operators on the Norwegian continental shelf have been told they will have to improve their efforts to avoid gas leaks by Norway's version of our HSE ‑ the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA). The industry was also told they needed to do more to reduce unhealthy noise levels.

After a couple of years of industry effort trying to cut the number of gas leaks, there were some good and encouraging results. But it looks like the number of leaks has started to creep upwards again and the PSA wants this trend reversed. In 2007 there were only 10 leaks, but this crept up to 14 in 2008 and during the latest reporting period it's gone up again with 15 leaks in 2009.

Like the HSE here in the UK, the PSA produces an annual report on risk level trends and statistics. On releasing the most recent report Oivind Tuntland, director of professional development at the PSA said; "it is crucial that the industry now joins forces on new measures, and thereby contributes to a new drive in this area". He went on to say, "Leaks, particularly gas leaks, can cause major accidents because of the danger of explosion."

The Offshore Energy Branch supports the Norwegians robust approach to tackling hydrocarbon releases. We also hope a similar approach will be used here on our patch because when you compare the figures above to the UK

sector, you've got to be concerned! Granted the UK sector is bigger in comparison to Norway, but the fact remains that the ridiculous claims by OGUK, about the UK sector becoming the safest in world are just that ridiculous! Remember, Norway had an astonishing 15 leaks during 2009; these are the figures for the UK;

2009/2010 Hydrocarbon releases.

Minor: 100, Significant: 83, Major: 2. Total hydrocarbon releases: 185.

Remember, using today's method of measuring gas releases ‑ Piper Alpha started with a "significant" release, we had 83 of them last year!

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