Safety reprimand for Petrofac after gas leak on North Sea platform

Petrofac's Kittiwake platform
Petrofac’s Kittiwake platform

By DARA BUTTERFIELD

Petrofac has been issued a Health and Safety Executive (HSE) improvement notice after a gas leak on their Kittiwake platform in the North Sea went unnoticed for 84 minutes.

The leak reportedly occurred in March on the platform, located 160km offshore from Aberdeen. Production was immediately halted after the leak was reported, however this came after an estimated 84 minutes of constant leakage.

The improvement notice read: “You [Petrofac] failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the uncontrolled release of flammable gas from instrument line PIA 2054 on the first stage of the Kittiwake platform E Gas compressor.

“Your current estimate of the gas release is 1670 kg, over a period of 84 minutes in the early hours of 20th March 2015.

“The release occurred when a section of stainless steel small bore tubing to a pressure transducer on your E-Gas reciprocating compressor fractured due to vibration fatigue.”

The gas was not picked up by the platform’s flammable gas detection system, however it is understood that is because the gas was dispersing rapidly as it was leaked. The HSE have said Petrofac will have until September 30 to comply with the order.

A spokesman for Petrofac said: “Safety is our number one priority and we take any occurrence of this kind extremely seriously.

“We fully accept the HSE’s recommendations and are working in conjunction with them to further develop and strengthen our small bore pipework management and fire and gas detection systems.”

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