Martin Temple, chairman of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), addressed delegates at the opening session of the Oil and Gas UK (OGUK) HSE Conference in Aberdeen on Wednesday 6th November. He spoke about the down-manning of EnQuest’s Thistle Alpha installation last month. The platform, around one hundred and twenty-five miles north-east of Shetland, evacuated its crew after a subsea inspection found deterioration in the condition of a metal plate connecting a storage tank to the platform’s legs.
This deterioration was similar to that which triggered the drastic capsize, and resulting death of one hundred and twenty-three men, in 1980 of the Alexander L Kielland, in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. Mr Temple said that recent case, among others, highlighted the need for the sector to focus on asset integrity. He also spoke about Process Safety Leadership principles to which industry leaders from various offshore bodies have recently signed up. These principles are designed to prevent repeats of events such as Piper Alpha or the 2005 Buncefield explosion at the Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal.