Chevron: Erskine Blazes

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0n the 24th January a fire broke out on the unmanned Chevron operated Erskine Platform. There was no news regarding this matter, no public statements or announcements, nothing. Four days later, on Thursday 28th January, OILCIRMT received an anonymous phone call advising us there had been a fire on Erskine. In fact the caller suggested the Erskine had been "destroyed". Before we could start to make enquiries about this we started to receive calls from the press who, it appears, had been tipped off by the same 'anonymous' caller.

Now the question we have to ask is; why did it take four days for Chevron to say anything about this incident? Were Chevron trying to hide the fact an incident had occurred, hoping it would go unnoticed and they could avoid any prying eyes or difficult questions? We don't know, but we do know the industry talks about "workforce involvement and engagement" and we repeatedly hear nowadays how more open the industry is with information about near misses and safety alerts. Not in this case though and even now the troops on Chevron operations aren't getting much feedback on 'what went wrong'.

After the initial interim investigation the HSE has concluded that a carbon steel ring installed in a high pressure gas process system, failed due to corrosion. This is clearly a very concerning matter for OILCIRMT. Our members could have been on the platform at the time and when you hear statements from Chevron like "the fire burnt itself out" you have to worry about what could have happened if workers had been onboard undertaking maintenance work. Where was the ignition source? Did the deluge work? How did the ring become so corroded? And on the last point, perhaps if there had been greater focus on doing maintenance and inspection the incident might have been avoided. We await the outcome of the HSE investigation and hope that in the absence of a platform safety committee, the findings will be shared with Safety Rep's and Safety Committees across Chevron operations.

Actions speak louder than words and clearly the actions of Chevron in this case speak volumes about the attitude of certain members of the Oil and Gas UK board. This union will expose bad  operators who pay lip service to safety and we advise our members to report any safety breaches to this Union so we can take whatever action is deemed necessary.

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