Australian Gov. Investigates Varanus Island Incident, Demolition Approved
Dept. Industry & Resources, W. Australia
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Western Australia's Department of Industry and Resources is assessing the damage at the Apache Varanus Island facilities, which are licensed under the Petroleum Pipelines Act 1969 (PPLA1969) as PL12.
The Department of Industry and Resources is responsible for regulating the safety and integrity of facilities on Varanus Island under the Petroleum Pipelines Act.
The department has been administering these responsibilities with input from the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) under a service level agreement and other sources.
Regulation of the Varanus Island facilities is in accordance with the nationally accepted Safety Case approach, which is risk and objective based.
Operators, such as Apache, are required to do risk assessment and develop appropriate safety management systems. Regulation is by assessment and acceptance of safety cases by regulators (DoIR on advice from NOPSA). Safety cases must be revised every five years.
Since 2005, NOPSA has conducted six planned inspections on Varanus Island.
The department has authorized an investigation into the incident which is currently being undertaken by a team consisting of two NOPSA representatives and one departmental inspector appointed under the Petroleum Pipelines Act.
The process will take about 10 to 12 weeks before a report is completed and provided to the Minister. Release of that report, or parts of it, will be determined by the Minister.
The department and NOPSA are also working with Apache to determine the process for early and safe resumption of gas and liquids production.
On Friday, June 13, approval was granted for demolition and removal of the damaged infrastructure and clean up of the site.
The department is also reviewing the company’s safety procedures for the demolition phase.