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Eternal Shame of Shell over North Sea Platform Safeguards

Posting by Bill Campbell, Retired HSE Group Auditor, Shell International

In the 25 years following Piper Alpha (commemorations were held in Aberdeen a few weeks ago) the man who presided over a potential Piper Alpha rerun was Chris Finlayson. Although he blamed Brinded it is Finlayson who had the line accountability for health and safety offshore when in September 2003 two men died when an estimated 6800 cubic metres of gas flooded a into an enclosed support column on Brent Bravo.

Lord Cullen, who was passed all the documentation from the Shell internal technical report into this near catastrophe was under no allusions. The lives of 156 workers could have been put a jeopardy if the gas had ignited. His safety case system had failed and it had almost led to a repeat.

It is to the eternal shame of Shell that they were the only operator in the subsequent 25 years after Piper recorded to have so flouted the safeguards put in place post the Cullen chaired public inquiry.  All the safeguards to reduce inventory were bypassed by operators put under unreasonable pressure.

Although Shell pled guilty to criminal neglect on all counts no manager at the time was either prosecuted or indeed sacked.

Fat cats it seems have many lives along with unreasonable remuneration.

However bad BG integrity management is or has been it couldn’t possible sink to these levels reached in the Brent Field.



Shell suffering legacy of BG Group negligence in maintaining safety critical equipment

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