Hydrocarbon releases (HCR) are in simple terms oil and gas leaks. Duty holders of offshore installations supply the data contained on the HCR system voluntarily to the HSE. These relate to incidents that are reportable under RIDDOR. They are classified as major, significant or minor HCRs based on their potential to cause a major accident if ignited.
In 2010, the offshore industry’s safety initiative, Step Change in Safety, agreed with all its member companies to redouble efforts to reduce the total number of HCRs. They set an objective to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in the number of reportable HCRs by the end of March 2013, measured against the 2010 total HCR figure of 187.
The industry fell just short of the 50 per cent reduction target achieving a 49 per cent decrease over the three-year period. In addition to the overall improvement, a 46 per cent reduction in major and significant HCRs in the three-year period was also very encouraging.
The Step Change Leadership Team is committed to HCR prevention and is now working towards a new target of a further 50 per cent reduction in total reportable HCRs over the next three years.
The renewed focus on HCR prevention is evident among duty holder companies and also at industry level, where Step Change in Safety work groups are driving the efforts to improve HCR performance and to understand the underlying causes.
Supplementary Guidance on Reporting Hydrocarbons: Aids the industry in reporting HCRs.
Fire and Explosion Guidance: Updated by Oil & Gas UK and HSE in 2007, this guidance provides information on the prevention, control and mitigation of fires and explosions from hydrocarbon releases on offshore platforms.
The industry HCR data is available at the links below, starting with Q2 2011 verified data. Data is updated on a quarterly basis one quarter in arrears to allow adequate time for reporting, investigation and verification of data.