Outspoken comment from a Retired Shell North Sea Platform Manager on an article published today by the Aberdeen Press & Journal
HSE says order was for gas leak on Shell platform
Thursday October 8 2009
The Health and Safety Executive has revealed it was a significant gas leak on board Shell’s Brent Charlie platform which led it to issue a prohibition notice to the energy giant.
The Press and Journal reported yesterday that production from the North Sea installation had been virtually halted for an unknown period after a gas problem in one of its legs.
An HSE spokesman said yesterday: “This was a significant release of hydrocarbons,” but he added that the gas leak had not caused any injuries or damage.
Repairs are needed on a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems on the platform, which normally handles about 26,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day.
Shell said the work would take “some weeks”.
The gas leak is described as significant by the HSE and later in the article it says: There was a significant release of hydrocarbons
In any circumstances a significant release of hydrocarbon gas within the confined space of a platform leg is potentially fatal to anyone in the vicinity. The failure of the ventilation system to clear the gas from the leg is most likely the reason for the prohibition notice being issued. In terms of incident investigation level, this has to be placed firmly within the category of multiple fatality and potential loss of the entire platform should the gas have been in the explosive range with the potential for explosion. Another case of failure of containment of hydrocarbons. Has Shell taken their eye of the ball again? Clearly points to another integrity issue which publically we have been assured would never happen again. Have the bandit managers been at it again? Currently Shell is in the process of a major re-organisation with all levels of Staff having to re-apply for their jobs, but a 20% reduction will take place by the year end, only the chosen yes men will remain.
This latest incident is potentially so close to the fatalities on Brent B in 2003 only this time no one was down the leg at the time of the significant escape of Hydrocarbons. Shell EPE and its Management need to take a long hard look at what is still going wrong with the equipment integrity issues and what it means, or has Brindeds TFA surfaced again?