Oil platform gas leak caused by ‘catastrophic’ failure of pipework that hadn’t been checked for 32 years
WORKERS on Brae Alpha installation in North Sea were exposed to an “unacceptable risk” of serious injury after bosses failed to carry out proper inspections
A GAS leak on a North Sea oil platform was caused by a “catastrophic” failure of pipework that had not been fully inspected since 1983, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has said.
The release of hydrocarbon gas from the Brae Alpha installation, around 155 miles north-east of Aberdeen, was said to have exposed workers to an “unacceptable risk” of serious injury from a fire or explosion.
The platform operated by Marathon Oil was shut down on December 26 while investigators sourced the leak.
The company has been served with an improvement notice.
The HSE said Marathon had failed to remove insulation from the platform’s discharge pipework for inspection since its commissioning in 1983.
The company’s own corrosion strategy recommends this is done at least every 12 years, the safety body said.
The notice states: “These failures exposed personnel on the Brae Alpha installation to an unacceptable risk of serious personal injury from fire and explosion.”
A company spokesman said: “Marathon Oil UK LLC is co-operating fully with the Health and Safety Executive, and is taking immediate steps to comply with the improvement notice.
“Many of the prescribed remedial actions are already well under way. The safety and welfare of our workforce continues to be our first priority.
“Production remains shut-in on the Brae Alpha installation while we continue our investigation and will remain so until we are confident it is safe to resume operations. At this time, we are unable to estimate a timeline for this.”