Rough Offshore Platform Workers Given OK to Return

The Rough offshore facility has been declared structurally safe and is due to be re-staffed this weekend after Dynegy Storage and its specialist engineering team concluded their initial damage assessment.

Matthew Scrimshaw, Dynegy Storage Chief Operating Officer, said: "An initial structural damage assessment has been completed and has highlighted that the integrity of the platform has not been compromised as a result of the incident earlier this week. We are now in a position to re-staff the facility to conduct a more thorough safety analysis." Dynegy Storage has advised the Health and Safety Executive and will begin re-staffing the platform this weekend. This exercise is expected to be completed by Tuesday, May 14.

Once the workers have returned to the platform, they will conduct a thorough assessment of the entire Rough facility to ensure that all systems and infrastructure are safe and that the platform can be operated safely. This safety assessment is expected to take around 10 days.

If the results of the inspection prove satisfactory, Dynegy Storage will be in a position to restart maintenance work and begin repairing the damaged platform leg. Dynegy Storage would expect to be able to resume commercial storage operations on June 1.

The South West leg of the Rough accommodation platform was struck by a trawler, the Marabell, owned and managed by J. Marr Ltd of Hull, at around 9:30am GMT on Wednesday, May 8. There were no injuries and all 128 personnel on the facility were accounted for and moved swiftly and safely onto the linked production platform.

Dynegy Storage organized the safe evacuation of 109 of the 128 personnel, who were back on the mainland by 18.20pm GMT on Wednesday. Forty-eight were taken by helicopter to Humberside Airport and 61 were taken by lifeboat back to Grimsby dock.

The remaining 19 personnel on Rough stayed to assess the extent of the damage. A diving vessel was used to inspect the platform legs beneath the water line. A structural engineer inspected the structure above the water line. The facility was undergoing a ‘shutdown’ period for maintenance and was not in production at the time of the incident.

Dynegy Storage, Rough Facility consists of a partially depleted offshore field which was originally installed to produce natural gas from the Rough field in October 1975, under a previous owner British Gas. British Gas, a nationalized industry at the time, identified the site for conversion to storage in 1979. Rough is essentially a gas storage reservoir, injecting and withdrawing gas on a daily basis, on behalf of gas shippers, to meet customers' needs - 41.7 million standard cubic meters can be fed back into the national transmission system per day, through the Easington Terminal. It is situated 9000 feet under the seabed.