North Sea Oil Workers to Be Drug Tested

Drug testing will be carried out on hundreds of offshore workers in the North Sea following the discovery of a package containing amphetamines. The drugs, bound for an individual based in the Forties oilfield one hundred miles north east of Aberdeen, were intercepted by Apache corporation mailroom staff last week.

There was no warning about the testing until a helicopter arrived carrying a nurse. Apache, which bought the oilfield from BP earlier this year, said it had been notified by police about the contents of the package and says the testing is essential to ensure the quality of offshore safety.

Jake Molloy, the General Secretary of the OILC union said: "A lot of the workforce feel that this is a slight on their character, on their integrity as it were, after all, they're tested regularly anyway as part of the medical process and random tests can occur with a just cause, so this is a slight on their character, their integrity, as I say, from an employer who's only just their feet under the table."

Apache spokesman John Duncan agreed that no drug culture existed offshore - but said it would have been wrong not to take action. "We intercepted a parcel destined for one of our platforms offshore," he said. "It was tested by police who determined it contained amphetamines and we decided this was a safety issue. "We don't want to do anything to jeopardize the safety of anyone offshore so we decided to do some drug screening of around 350 people."