Potentially Dangerous Conditions Identified in Connection with Visund Probe

After the major gas leak on Visund on January 19, 2006, potentially dangerous conditions have been uncovered in connection with the discharge assembly in the KO drum for the flare. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has sent a letter to the industry with information about these findings, and to solicit feedback on whether similar conditions could exist on other facilities and plants currently in operation.

The ongoing investigation of the incident on Visund is not complete, however, the main features of the chain of events have been sufficiently clarified so as to identify potentially dangerous conditions associated with the flare drum (see detailed description in the letter).

We are not aware of any similar incidents in connection with flare systems for depressurization of process facilities, and one of the purposes of this letter is to obtain assurance that relevant knowledge secured from the Visund investigation will be passed on to the rest of the industry as quickly as possible.

We have asked operators with facilities and plants in operation to investigate whether the potentially dangerous condition we have identified could exist on their facilities and plants, and we have requested that they reply to us by February 3, 2006.

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