HSE: 'Too Many' Hydrocarbon Releases Occurring in North Sea



HSE: 'Too Many' Hydrocarbon Releases Occurring in North Sea
The Health and Safety Executive has written to offshore oil and gas production operators regarding gas releases in the North Sea.

Too many hydrocarbon releases (HCR) are occurring in the North Sea, according to Chris Flint, the director of the energy division at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety.

In a letter sent to offshore oil and gas production operators in the region, Flint welcomed the downward trend in the total number of HCRs since 2005, but suggested the overall amount befalling the North Sea was still too high.

“Great Britain’s oil and gas industry must improve further in this area to reduce the likelihood of an incident with potentially catastrophic consequences,” Flint said in his letter.

In an effort to improve standards, Flint asked operators to respond to him formally by July 20, stating what measures they have either already put in place since 2015, or will put in place, to improve their safety management performance in the areas of process safety leadership, and audit, assurance and review.

“I would also welcome your thoughts on how HSE could help encourage greater co-operation, and more effective sharing of learning from incidents within the industry, with the aim of reducing hydrocarbon release risk,” Flint stated in the letter.

HSE has committed to feeding back findings to the industry later in the year. In response to Flint’s letter, Deirdre Michie, the chief executive of industry body Oil & Gas UK, said the sector was committed to ensuring lessons are learned and good practice is shared.

“As the HSE recognized in the letter sent to our members, our industry has delivered ‘a substantial and welcome downward trend in the total number of HCRs since 2005’. However, we all know there is never room for complacency,” Michie said in a statement sent to Rigzone.

“We understand why the HSE wants to highlight areas where industry can further improve and we continue to work closely with them to reduce hydrocarbon releases,” Michie added.

“The industry is committed to ensuring lessons are learned and good practice is shared and look forward to using the results of this initiative to progress this important work,” the Oil & Gas UK representative concluded.



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