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Safety failings led to closure

APPARENTLY SHELL’S “TOUCH F*** ALL” SAFETY CULTURE ON NORTH SEA PLATFORMS IS STILL IN FORCE – READ THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED TODAY

OIL AND GAS

TUESDAY 3rd July 2012

BY ROSS DAVIDSON

A North Sea installation run by Shell was shut for nearly three months because of failings in the offshore giant’s measures to prevent a blast.

The company was served with a Health and Safety Executive prohibition after an inspection revealed its efforts to avoid a fire or explosion on the Leman Alpha platform were not up to scratch.

The firm said yesterday it had restarted production after assessing its procedures.

But one union leader said he could not believe Shell would allow standards to slip so far that the HSE issued an order to suspend operations.

HSE inspectors visited the Leman Alpha, about 45 miles off the coast of Suffolk, after the cooling system on the platform’s power generator failed, setting off a gas detector.

The incident on April 6 led to the HSE assessing Shell’s processes to prevent a fire or explosion on the platform.

It discovered the company fell short and the organisation issued the prohibition notice on April 19.

The move happened less than a year after an oil leak at another of Shell’s North Sea platforms, Gannet Alpha.

An estimated 1,300 barrels escaped from a pipeline near the installation 112 miles east of Aberdeen in August.

Jake Molloy, regional organiser for the RMT union, said: “It is difficult to see how an operator could allow their operations to fall into such a condition that warrants this action,”

A spokeswoman for Shell said: “The firm has completed a comprehensive review of technical safety, maintenance and process on Leman Alpha.”

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