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Alarming news today of potential fire and explosion on Shell North Sea platform

By John Donovan

History is repeating itself. Shell is in the news today over its  dangerous North Sea oil platform activities.

Nearly 20 years ago, Shell senior management ignored warnings by HSE Auditor Bill Campbell about the Touch Fuck All regime on the Brent Bravo platform and its potential impact on worker safety. Production and profits were the overriding consideration. Maintenance records were routinely falsified. Lives were put at risk.

Shell EP MD Malcolm Brinded promised to take action based on the scandalous state of affairs Mr Campbell’s team had discovered when he led the safety audit on the platform. The promises were not kept. As a result, platform workers subsequently lost their lives in what was judged by the Scottish legal authorities to be an avoidable accident on Brent Bravo. A record-breaking fine was imposed on Shell.

Although Mr Campbell has retired from his role as the HSE Group Auditor of Shell International, he still keeps a watchful eye on Shell’ activities.

He must have been disappointed to see the articles published today about a gas leak on Brent Charlie that could have easily resulted in more avoidable deaths.

Despite all of the pledges by successive Shell CEO’s over the years and the appointment of a so-called Safety Czar, nothing seems to have changed.


Shell also appears to be ignoring the dire warnings by Mr Campbell about the Prelude FLNG project. More will follow immediately on that subject. I hope Australian government ministers are taking note on what he has been saying. Bill’s interest was triggered originally by startling information we received from a worried whistleblower working in a key position on the Prelude project.

Gas leak on Shell oil platform risked causing explosion (STV News 2 August 2017)

A gas leak that forced the evacuation of a North Sea oil platform risked causing an explosion, safety watchdogs say.

Dozens of workers were flown off Brent Charlie during the incident on May 27.

The leak of flammable gas from what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) described as “safety critical pipework” risked causing a fire or an explosion.

Brent Charlie was shut down while engineers identified and isolated the source of the leak.

The HSE issued Shell with a safety notice ordering it to fix the problem and the platform 115 miles north east of Shetland remains out of action.

Production is likely to restart later this month, it is understood.

A Shell spokeswoman said: “We received a notice on May 27 in relation to pipe work integrity on our Brent Charlie installation in the northern North Sea.

“We continue to work through the necessary actions required to enable safe restart of the installation.”

Shell issued with Brent Charlie prohibition notice over gas leak (BBC News 2 August 2017)

Shell has been issued with a prohibition notice by health and safety inspectors over a gas leak on its Brent Charlie platform earlier this year.

The installation, 115 miles north-east of Shetland, was shut down following the escape in May, and more than 30 workers were taken off.

The Health and Safety Executive prohibition notice said there was the potential for fire and explosion.

Shell said it was working towards production resuming safely.

Shell hit with prohibition notice over Brent Charlie fire potential: 2 August 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has been served a prohibition notice over the potential for “fire and explosion” on the Brent Charlie platform.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the supermajor had failed to act under the Offshore Prevention of Fire regulations.

The watchdog said the breach related to the possibility of an uncontrolled release of flammable or explosive hydrocarbons from safety critical pipework in the Column Four leg.

The breach was recorded back in May, with the prohibition notice served at the end of the month.

Shell has been contacted for comment.


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