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Shell served improvement notice over gas leak blunder

Offshore workers were exposed to the risk of fire and explosion after blunder led to a gas leak on a southern North Sea installation.

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The uncontrolled release took place on the Barque PB, a normally unmanned platform, on July 19.

Around 138kg of flammable hydrocarbon gas was released from pipework connected to the vessel V2000, according to the Health and Safety Executive.

A subsequent probe found that flammable gas had been used to leak test the pipework instead of inert nitrogen gas – which was available.

Failings were found in the arrangements for the effective planning, organising and control for the reinstatement of the pipework.

Shell has until the end of the month to respond to the improvement notice.

A spokesperson for Shell UK said: “Shell UK can confirm that we received an improvement notice on 31st August, 2017 in relation to a gas release that occurred on Wednesday 19th July, 2017 from the Barque platform in the southern North Sea.

“The platform is normally unmanned however some personnel were on board undertaking maintenance work at the time of the release. There were no injuries to personnel or environmental impact as a result of the release.

“We are currently working to address the requirements of the improvement notice.”



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One Comment

  1. Bill Campbell says:

    We are living it appears in an age of stupidity. Academic papers give many reasons for this including use of technology, calculators, mobile phones etc and the dumbing down of debate through usage of the internet. Moronic behaviour is common even in those who lead us.
    If you are looking for a world class example of stupidity look no further than Shell and its incident on Barque. We have discussed leakage of hydrocarbons a lot recently, to reduce them to zero is the Industries greatest challenge and top priority. But here we have a significant leak of some 200 cubic metres of gas mainly methane caused it seems by stupidity, how else can you describe this, its like driving while texting, behaviour totally unexplainable to rational individuals. The ONLY reason we pressure test process vessels and pipework using water or inert gas AND prior to the introduction of hydrocarbons is to provide assurance that when the hydrocarbons are finally introduced there will be no leakage, and consequentially no risk to people. The Barque method it appears is to just introduce the hydrocarbons anyway, pressurise the system to the acceptable operating pressure by compressing the hydrocarbons, and hope that it doesn’t leak. Now the Shell technicians and supervisors are not stupid, they knew what they were doing was wrong. The unanswered question for me, and not covered in the press release or the Shell bland statement, is why did they do what they did, what was the driver of this totally unacceptable behaviour?

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