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Health & Safety Executive feared ‘catastrophe’ on Shell North Sea Platform

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 07.03.50Extract from an article published today: The incident was stood down later that morning, but inspectors have accused Shell of failing to have systems in place that would see equipment which is exposed to the elements checked regularly for rust. The notice – which was made public yesterday – stated: “You (Shell) failed to have effective arrangements to ensure work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected at suitable intervals, and an adequate record of that inspection kept, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.”

By John Donovan

In 2005, Shell received a record breaking fine of £900,000 at Stonehaven Sheriff Court, for a series of safety failings on the Brent Bravo platform, which led to a gas leak inside the giant platform’s utility leg and the tragic avoidable deaths of offshore workers. 

A safety audit on the Brent Bravo platform in 1999 led by Bill Campbell exposed a “Touch F*** All” culture with safety records routinely falsified. 

His report was passed to Shell EP director Malcolm Brinded, who made promises to remedy the situation that were not kept. Instead Brinded decided to put profits before safety. Hence the subsequent deadly explosion followed by a cover-up at the highest level of Royal Dutch Shell.

It seems from an article published today by The Press & Journal in Aberdeen that not much has changed – Shell is still recklessly putting the lives of offshore workers at risk. 

Gas alert on Shell North Sea platform sparks action by safety chiefs

HSE previously warned of ‘catastrophe’ on installation after leaks

Ryan Crighton, 7th February 2014

GAS SCARE: Brent Charlie is one of the oldest North Sea platforms operated by oil giant Shell

Oil giant Shell has been sanctioned by safety chiefs after corrosion on one of its oldest North Sea platforms led to a gas leak.

The Health and Safety Executive has issued the major with an improvement notice following another incident on the Brent
Charlie.

The HSE has previously warned that it feared “catastrophe” on the platform after a series of leaks in 2011.

However, last night Shell said that the latest incident was not serious and that the problem had been addressed.

All staff on the platform – located east of Shetland – were called to muster on November 18 after a gas alert.

The incident was stood down later that morning, but inspectors have accused Shell of failing to have systems in place that would see equipment which is exposed to the elements checked regularly for rust.

The notice – which was made public yesterday – stated: “You (Shell) failed to have effective arrangements to ensure work equipment exposed to conditions causing deterioration which is liable to result in dangerous situations is inspected at suitable intervals, and an adequate record of that inspection kept, to ensure that health and safety conditions are maintained and that any deterioration can be detected and remedied in good time.”

In January 2011, five days after another release on the Brent Charlie, HSE chiefs met with Shell in Aberdeen.

At the meeting they raised major concerns about leaks on the platform.

Papers released under freedom of information legislation later revealed the HSE said: “It is considered that for releases of this scale, ignition of such a cloud is almost inevitable and that it is foreseeable that the consequences could be catastrophic.”

The platform has not been the subject of any further action since then, however. Until now.

A spokeswoman for Shell said yesterday that the latest leak was an isolated incident.

“Shell can confirm that following a low-level gas alert at 07.39 on November 18 on Brent Charlie a General Platform Alarm (GPA) was initiated and a full muster was achieved.

“There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

The area was made safe with the platform returning to normal status at 08.04

We have complied with the requirements of the Improvement Notice – which is now closed out.

Article ends

COMMENT FROM A RETIRED SHELL OFFSHORE PLATFORM EXPERT

It looks like the Brinded legacy is still present in the Shell system.

Shell in Aberdeen have had numerous interventions by the HSE taking them to task but still continue to “Fly close to the wind”
I cannot imagine how such short comings are allowed to happen, in my day someone would be looking for a new job if such a “head on collision” with the authorities had taken place.

Shame on you Shell.

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