Download the Post-Piper Timeline as a PDF file.
PIPER ALPHA EXPLOSION, UK
A major leak of gas condensate resulted in an explosion on the production deck of Piper Alpha. This was subsequently followed by a number of smaller explosions which led to large oil fires that spread rapidly to other areas of the platform. The rupture of the gas risers (pipelines) from other installations produced further massive explosions and fireballs which engulfed the Piper Alpha platform. The fire and explosions resulted in the structural collapse of the platform into the sea. 165 people of the 226 on board were killed. In addition, two people in the Sandhaven fast rescue craft were also killed.
OCEAN ODYSSEY DRILLING RIG GAS BLOWOUT, UK
During the drilling of the high pressure/high temperature 22/30b-3 well a blowout occurred which was later attributed to the failure of a subsea wellhead. During the resulting fire the radio operator was killed.
PIPER ALPHA PUBLIC INQUIRY COMMENCED
The Hon Lord Cullen was appointed by Secretary of State to hold a public inquiry to establish the circumstances of the accident on Piper Alpha and its cause. The inquiry commenced with a preliminary hearing in Aberdeen on 11 November 1988 and Lord Cullen’s report was presented to the Secretary of State on the 19 October 1990. Lord Cullen’s inquiry report identified 106 recommendations with the view to the preservation of life and avoidance of similar accidents in the future.
OFFSHORE INDUSTRY LIAISON COMMITTEE (OILC) FORMED
An offshore workers campaign group was created called the “Offshore Industry Liaison Committee” (OILC) made up entirely of offshore workers. The group’s stated aim is to campaign for improvements to offshore health and safety and conditions of employment.
INDUSTRY CHAPLAINCY FORMALISED
In April 1986, a Church of Scotland minister, the Reverend Andrew Wylie, came to Aberdeen to conduct a pilot scheme that would examine the pastoral needs of the vast onshore and offshore community in the North Sea oil and gas industry.
The need for a chaplain dedicated to the industry had been highlighted in the aftermath of the Chinook helicopter tragedy in Shetland in November 1986. By January 1989, the industry had established its own interdenominational chaplaincy fully funded by the United Kingdom Offshore Operator’s Association (UKOOA) now Oil & Gas UK.
The current Chaplain is Reverend Gordon Craig who was appointed in August 2012 following 24 years as an RAF chaplain.
During the replacement of a leaking Emergency Shutdown (ESD) valve on the export gas riser, workers became alarmed that the inflatable plug (reducing the pressure in the line) had started to move up the line towards them. Eventually the plug came out of the line causing a major gas leak. Platform crew mustered and the platform was shut down until the gas dispersed. However when the emergency power came back on a spark ignited gas causing explosions and flash fires around the platform. Fortunately there were no casualties, only extensive damage to the platform.
OILC’S “BLOWOUT” MAGAZINE FIRST PUBLISHED
The OILC produced their first ever edition of “Blowout” a journal described as the “voice of the offshore workforce” carrying opinion pieces, research, offshore articles and pictures. The journal is still produced today in magazine format and is also available online.
THE OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS (SAFETY REPRESENTATIVES AND SAFETY COMMITTEES) REGULATIONS 1989 (SI 971)
The Regulations allow members of the offshore installation workforce to elect safety representatives from among their number. It also allows for the formation of a safety committee on the installation. The purpose of the Regulations is to ensure that the whole workforce is formally involved in promoting health and safety, through freely elected safety representatives and a safety committee.
G-BEWL FATAL CRASH,
BRENT SPAR, UK
The accident occurred whilst the helicopter was manoeuvring to land on the Brent Spar installation. The tail rotor struck the anemometer mast attached to the crane ‘A’ frame causing the aircraft to crash on to the helideck and almost immediately fall into the sea. Seven occupants were rescued and there were six fatalities, including the crew.
CULLEN INQUIRY REPORT PUBLISHED
The Cullen Report made 106 recommendations for changes to North Sea safety arrangements and procedures, all of which were accepted by industry, government and trades unions. The key recommendations were: the transfer of responsibility for safety oversight to the Health & Safety Executive; the establishment of the Safety Case Regulations; a thorough review of existing safety legislation and the move towards a goal setting regulatory regime.
HSE OFFSHORE SAFETY DIVISION ESTABLISHED
Following a recommendation in Lord Cullen’s inquiry into Piper Alpha, the offshore safety responsibilities were transferred from the Department of Energy to the Health & Safety Executive. As part of the HSE, the new Offshore Safety Division’s task was to ensure that Lord Cullen’s 106 recommendations were fully implemented.
PIPER ALPHA ABERDEEN MEMORIAL DEDICATED
A memorial sculpture, showing three oil workers, was erected in the Rose Garden within Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen. The sculpture was created by Sue Jane Taylor, a Scottish artist who had previously visited the platform. A memorial window can be seen in Kirk of St Nicholas, Aberdeen. Strathclyde Park, Glasgow, also has a memorial stone to mark the disaster.
OFFSHORE SAFETY ACT 1992
The Offshore Safety Act 1992 came in to force, making the Mineral Workings (Offshore Installations) Act 1971, and other offshore Regulations made under that Act, to be included as an existing statutory provision of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.
G-TIGH FATAL CRASH, CORMORANT ALPHA, UK
The accident occurred at night during a shuttle of personnel from the Cormorant Alpha platform to the near by flotel. Extreme weather conditions and pilot error contributed to the aircraft crashing into the sea shortly after take-off. Of the two crew and 15 passengers there were 11 fatalities.
‘SIX PACK’ REGULATIONS INTRODUCED
The OILC became an independent trade union in its own right and is certified as such by the “Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers Associations”.
OILC BECAME AN
INDEPENDENT TRADE UNION
The group of six separate health and safety Regulations, commonly known as ‘the six pack’ includes:
• The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations
• The Display Screen Equipment Regulations
• The Manual Handling Operations Regulations
• The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations
• The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations
• The Workplace Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations (not applied offshore as equivalent requirements were already in existence)
These Regulations implement EU Directives.
HSE HYDROCARBON RELEASE DATABASE WENT LIVE
The Hydrocarbon Releases (HCR) database was set up in response to a recommendation in the Piper Alpha Inquiry Report. The system contains detailed voluntary information from 1 October 1992 on offshore hydrocarbon release incidents supplementary to that provided under RIDDOR (and previous offshore legislation prior to April 1996). The data contained in the HCR System database is owned by the duty holders, however the HSE manage the system.
OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS (SAFETY CASE) REGULATIONS 1992 [SCR]
The primary aim of the Regulations is to reduce the risks from major accident hazards to the health and safety of the workforce employed on offshore installations or in connected activities.
The Regulations implement the central recommendation of Lord Cullen’s report on the public inquiry into the Piper Alpha disaster that the operator or owner of every offshore installation should be required to prepare a safety case and submit it to HSE for acceptance.
OFFSHORE HELIDECK OPERATIONS GUIDELINES ISSUED
Industry guidelines developed by UKOOA in conjunction with HSE and CAA.
EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS OFFSHORE LIAISON (EPOL) GROUP ESTABLISHED
EPOL Group is an industry led forum fully supported by Grampian Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and UKOOA (now Oil & Gas UK), which seeks to improve offshore emergency response related issues in the northern United Kingdom Continental Shelf and West of Shetland. The Group is supported by more than 30 oil and gas companies in Aberdeen and its members meet regularly to discuss good practice, identify areas for improvement and to share learning with industry.
OFFSHORE EMERGENCY TRAINING GUIDELINES
Industry guidelines developed by UKOOA to ensure the workforce was appropriately trained and aware of emergency procedures.
Latest version February 2010.
STANDBY VESSEL (ERRV) GUIDELINES
These guidelines are a joint UKOOA (now Oil & Gas UK) and ERRVA publication, intended to provide masters and crews of standby vessels, OIMs and other relevant offshore personnel, with general guidance on the conduct of their activities as part of the effective arrangements for the recovery and rescue of personnel. The guidance was developed in response to anticipated regulatory requirements in the Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosions, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995.
EMERGENCY RESPONSE GUIDELINES
These guidelines were produced to provide guidance to those with responsibilities for devising and assessing emergency response arrangements. They relate to the Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosions, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995 and Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 1992. Latest version June 2010.
FIRE & EXPLOSION GUIDELINES
Safety Executive (HSE), to provide a source of good practice on designing against fire and explosions on offshore installations.
The guidance focuses on setting a philosophy for design and assessment in a realistic and simplified manner. Latest version May 2007.
OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS AND PIPELINES WORKS (MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION) REGULATIONS 1995 [MAR]
These Regulations cover a variety of administrative topics and important definitions, eg installation, operator, etc. Key within the Regulations is the inclusion of permit-to-work systems and the provision of written instructions, and the keeping of records of persons on board.
OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS (PREVENTION OF FIRE
AND EXPLOSION, AND EMERGENCY RESPONSE) REGULATIONS 1995 [PFEER]
The Regulations deal with:
(a) preventing fires and explosions, and protecting persons from the effects of any which do occur; and
(b) securing effective response to emergencies affecting persons on the installation or engaged in activities in connection with it, and which have the potential to require evacuation, escape and rescue from the installation.
OFFSHORE INSTALLATIONS AND WELLS (DESIGN AND
CONSTRUCTION, ETC.) REGULATIONS 1996 [DCR]
The Regulations are made under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. They apply a single set of reporting requirements to all work activities in Great Britain and in the offshore oil and gas industry. The main purpose of the Regulations is to generate reports to the Health and Safety Executive and alert them to individual incidents. They also provide data which is used to indicate where and how risks arise and to show up trends. This enables HSE to target their activities effectively and to advise duty holders on strategies to help prevent injuries, ill health and accidental loss.
THE PIPELINES SAFETY REGULATIONS 1996
The Regulations cover the definition of a pipeline, general duties, the need for co-operation among pipeline operators and arrangements to prevent damage to pipelines. Key within the Regulations for major accident hazard pipelines is the requirement for emergency shut-down valves (ESDVs) at offshore installations.
THE PIPELINES SAFETY REGULATIONS 1996
These Regulations seek to ensure that an offshore installation is designed, constructed, operated, maintained and decommissioned so that the level of integrity is as high as reasonably practicable and associated risks to people are as low as reasonably practicable. The Regulations also include provisions relating to the health and safety of the workplace environment.
DCR introduced new requirements for the safety of wells both onshore and offshore, and in particular provisions to ensure that a well is so designed, modified, commissioned, constructed, equipped, operated, maintained and abandoned that risks from it are as low as is reasonably practicable.
In addition these Regulations also introduced requirements (through amendment of the Safety Case Regulations 1992) for the safety-critical parts of an offshore installation to be verified as suitable by an independent competent person.
STEP CHANGE IN SAFETY FOUNDED
Step Change in Safety was founded by the UK oil and gas industry trade associations with the initial aim of reducing all the UK offshore industry injury rate by 50%. Its current vision is to make the UK is the safest place to work in the worldwide oil and gas industry. Membership of Step Change includes production operators, explorations operators, major contractors, the UK Health and Safety Executive and trade unions. Its leadership team is drawn from representative membership and includes elected safety representatives. It is this broad stakeholder base that makes the Step Change group effective across the whole industry.
SCIS GREEN HAT POLICY
The goal for this policy was:
“Identifying and supporting those who are unfamiliar with the location, ensuring their safety and that of their colleagues.”
It required new starts to the industry and personnel that were new to an installation to wear a high visibility green/yellow hat.
GAS PLANT EXPLOSION,
On Friday 25 September 1998 an explosion and fire occurred at the Esso Longford facility in Victoria, Australia. Two people were killed, a number were injured and there was a 2-week interruption to Victoria’s natural gas supply. The Royal Commission report contained many invaluable lessons for all operators of major hazard facilities worldwide.
RISK RELATED DECISION SUPPORT GUIDELINES
These UKOOA guidelines describe a framework that provides a structured and integrated approach that enables the various business, technical and social factors to be considered and used to establish a sound basis for decision making. The framework was designed to improve decision making arrangements and processes, and facilitate more transparent and demonstrably justifiable decisions. (Currently under revision).
VANTAGE POB LAUNCHED
The Vantage Personnel on Board system was developed with the intention to improve the tracking of people working offshore and keep records of what training each worker had received and whether it is in date.
PETROBRAS 36 PLATFORM EXPLOSION, BRAZIL
Following two explosions caused by over pressure and ignition of leaking hydrocarbon vapour, two workers were killed immediately and nine others were trapped in a submerged compartment; they were later presumed dead. Despite efforts to save the platform by pumping in nitrogen and pumping out water, the structure slowly sank five days later.
KP1 (HCR REDUCTION) INSPECTION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED
This HSE Offshore Safety Division inspection – key programme – was launched to investigate all reported offshore hydrocarbon releases. The main objectives were:
• to analyse the size, type and causes of the releases
• to provide information useful to industry and OSD about ways of reducing the number of releases
The project formed part of an ongoing OSD initiative aimed at reducing the number of “major” and “significant” releases by 50% by April 2004.
HCR REDUCTION TOOLKIT LAUNCHED
Developed by UKOOA in response to HSE KP1 inspection programme to provide advice and guidance on the prevention, management and control of hydrocarbon releases.
Step Change in Safety’s Incident Alert Database, known as SADIE (Safety Alert Database and Information Exchange), is intended to facilitate the sharing of safety information and improve the lateral learning across the industry.
G-BJVX FATAL CRASH,
Whilst travelling between Clipper and Global Santa Fe Monarch, the drilling rig attached to Leman Foxtrot, the aircraft suffered a catastrophic failure of a main rotor blade. The aircraft fell into the sea leaving no survivors of the nine passengers and two crew who were on board.
SCIS FATALITY REVIEW REPORT PUBLISHED
Following 11 fatalities in the UKCS, Norway & Holland 2000-2002 in drilling operations, Step Change in Safety established a review team. The report produced provides an overview of each fatality and summarises common learnings.
KP2 (DECK AND DRILLING OPERATIONS SAFETY) INSPECTION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED
Initiated by HSE in response to unacceptable number and seriousness of accidents occurring during deck and drilling operations. The programme was reviewed in 2005, which resulted in a closer focus on the management of lifting operations within these two areas of activity. Lifting operations have been seen to contribute significantly to fatalities and major injuries.
Ties in with SCiS fatality report.
FATAL ACCIDENT, UK
Two workers were working within the Brent Bravo utility shaft when there was a release of liquid hydrocarbons from a temporary repair on the closed drain degasser rundown line. The released liquid evaporated forming vapour in the shaft and as a direct consequence of vapour inhalation the two men died. The accident raised the profile of major hazard management and asset integrity within the UK offshore oil and gas industry.
KP1 REPORT PUBLISHED
This report provided the offshore industry with the results on hydrocarbon releases during the programme. It contained data analysis of the incidents and highlighted problem areas that have led to HCRs.
KP3 (ASSET INTEGRITY) INSPECTION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED
HSE Offshore Division Key Programme 3 (KP3) was directed more widely at asset integrity and the condition of fabric and plant on installations, and scheduled to run between 2004 and 2007. Asset integrity is defined as the ability of an asset to perform its required function effectively and efficiently while protecting health, safety and the environment.
TEXAS CITY REFINERY EXPLOSION, USA
BP’s Texas City refinery experienced one of the most serious US workplace disasters resulting in 15 deaths and more that 170 injuries. The incident served to refocus worldwide attention on corporate safety culture, process safety hazard management, performance evaluation, corrective action and corporate oversight in major hazard industries.
HIGH PLATFORM FIRE,
The fire was triggered when a vessel collided with one of the four platforms in the Mumbai High Field; the platform was destroyed within 2 hours of fire. 11 people were killed with 11 missing. 362 people were rescued.
BUNCEFIELD OIL STORAGE TERMINAL FIRE,
Liquid fuel spilled from the top of a tank while refuelling when the safety systems designed to prevent overfilling failed. As overfilling continued and about 300 tonnes of petrol escaped, a vapour cloud formed and mixed with cold air at combustible concentrations. The first series of explosions caused a huge fire which engulfed 20 large storage tanks. The fire burned for five days; hundreds of homes and businesses were evacuated whilst the blaze was tackled.
SCIS ASSET INTEGRITY TOOLKIT
In support of asset integrity inspection undertaken by the Health and Safety Executive, UKOOA (now Oil & Gas UK) established the Installation Integrity Working Group (IIWG) in 2004. This work group helped develop and collate a collection of good practice techniques & guidelines aimed to assist operators in their efforts to maintain and enhance asset integrity.
ROUGH PLATFORM FIRE,
A release of gas from one of the process modules, caused by a catastrophic failure of a heat exchanger, subsequently resulted in an explosion and fire in the jacket. The ESD and fire deluge systems operated as designed and expected and the platform facilities were shut down in a controlled manner. Following failure of power generation, the decisions was taken to suspend the 24 hour manning of 3B platform. There were no casualties during this incident.
NEW SAFETY CASE REGULATIONS
The Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations 2005 were brought in to replace the previous regulations published in 1992. This was an evolution of the regime and facilitated continuous improvement in offshore safety.
G-BLUN FATAL CRASH, MORECAMBE BAY,
The first two of eight sectors were completed without incident but, when preparing to land on the North Morecambe platform, in the dark, the helicopter flew past the platform and struck the surface of the sea. The fuselage disintegrated on impact and the majority of the structure sank. Two fast response craft from a multipurpose standby vessel, which was on position close to the platform, arrived at the scene of the accident 16 minutes later. There were no survivors amongst the five passengers and two crew.
OIL & GAS UK FORMED
Oil & Gas UK was formed on the foundations of the UK Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) with the intention to span the membership to cover the whole offshore oil and gas supply chain. Oil & Gas UK’s aim is to strengthen the long-term health of the offshore oil and gas industry in the United Kingdom by working closely with companies across the sector, governments and all other stakeholders to address the issues that affect the industry.
The Bourbon Dolphin anchor handling vessel capsized off the coast of Shetland and sank three days later. 15 people were on board of which eight were killed. Industry guidelines on anchor handling operations were revised to reflect lessons learnt from the incident.
KP2 REPORT PUBLISHED
The HSE report identified that the leading management failure was that of a lack of effective auditing of the management of deck and drilling lifting operations offshore. The leading failures subsequent to the lack of auditing were: Planning and Control; and Training and Competence. The OSD directed duty holders to review their management of lifting operations with the report findings in mind.
KP3 REPORT PUBLISHED
Inspections covered nearly 100 offshore installations and highlighted areas in Maintenance Management Systems and overall infrastructure conditions that the industry would need to focus on.
OILC MERGED WITH RMT
OILC merged with the National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and becomes the offshore energy arm of RMT.
20TH ANNIVERSARY OF PIPER ALPHA
The anniversary of the disaster was marked with memorial ceremonies both onshore and offshore and a number of memorial events.
A parliamentary debate was held to remember those who died and discuss continued improvement in offshore safety. A series of videos were aired looking at the lasting impact of the tragedy.
STEP CHANGE IN SAFETY HCR REDUCTION TOOLKIT
Asset integrity is a main area of focus for industry with hydrocarbon releases as one of the key performance indicators. Major and significant releases had been consistently reducing however the improvement trend slowed and a focussed effort was required by industry to ensure lasting leak reduction. The toolkit revised and updated the 2002 UKOOA publication.
Work began in 2007 to develop key performance indicators in response to HSE’s KP3 initiative. By 2009 these were well developed and intended to gauge and monitor evolving industry performance on asset integrity.
The three indicators are:
• hydrocarbon releases: HSE collates and monitors data with the aim of reducing major and significant releases by 10% year-on-year
• verification non-compliance issues: independent verifiers monitor duty holders’ management of safety critical elements
• safety critical maintenance backlog
G-REDL FATAL ACCIDENT,
The accident occurred whilst the helicopter was returning to Aberdeen. 50 minutes into the flight there was a catastrophic failure of the helicopter’s main rotor gearbox and rotor head separation. The aircraft crashed into the sea killing 14 passengers and two crew.
HELICOPTER TASK GROUP FORMED
The Helicopter Task Group (HTG) was created to address cross-industry issues around helicopter safety, including those arising from the fatal helicopter crash on 1 April 2009. Represented on the task group were companies directly involved in the fatal accident, Oil & Gas UK’s Board or Council, the offshore workforce, helicopter operator companies, CAA, Grampian Police and trade unions.
When the HTG had completed its work after 18 months it was agreed that it would be beneficial to have a permanent group to address helicopter safety. The Helicopter Safety Steering Group was created with a wider remit and representatives from across industry, the offshore workforce, trade unions, helicopter operators and the Civil Aviation Authority.
MONTARA OIL SPILL,
A blowout from the Montara wellhead caused a huge oil and gas leak and subsequent slick. The leak continued for 74 days causing one of Australia’s worst oil disasters. The blowout was attributed to a poor cementing job which led to the cement casing failing.
MINIMUM INDUSTRY SAFETY TRAINING (MIST) LAUNCHED
Step Change in Safety, in collaboration with OPITO – The Oil & Gas Academy created a new minimum industry safety training (MIST) standard for the UK offshore workforce. A two-day OPITO Approved training course was launched to ensure every member of the offshore oil and gas industry has a basic level of safety knowledge.
PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACONS REINTRODUCTION TO NORTH SEA
Personal locator beacons were removed from use following the ETAP helicopter ditching when concerns were raised regarding their interference with avionics. Thorough testing was subsequently carried out and improved devises, approved by CAA, were reintroduced for universal use.
ERSKINE PLATFORM FIRE,
The installation’s monitoring system signalled a fire on the platform and as a result, a full shutdown and a depressurization of facilities was initiated from the nearby Lomond platform. Corrosion of a clamp ring connecting pipework to a wellhead caused a hydrocarbon release which led to the fire. This was an unmanned platform therefore there were no casualties.
STEP CHANGE IN SAFETY 50% HCR TARGET SET
Following the industry’s commitment to continuously improve process safety standards and performance, Step Change in Safety and the industry agreed to reduce HCRs by 50 per cent by end March 2013.
DEEPWATER HORIZON/MACONDO EXPLOSION,
GULF OF MEXICO
During drilling activity, highly flammable methane gas escaped from the well and drill column causing an explosion and subsequent fire that engulfed the platform. After burning for more than a day Deepwater Horizon sank; of the 127 workers on the platform 11 workers were killed and 16 workers injured. This incident was considered as the world’s largest accidental marine oil spill with a current estimate of 4.9 million barrels of oil being released.
OIL SPILL PREVENTION AND RESPONSE ADVISORY GROUP (OSPRAG) FORMED
Oil & Gas UK established OSPRAG to provide a focal point for the sector’s review of the industry’s practices in the UK, in advance of the conclusion of investigations into the Gulf of Mexico incident. This collaborative effort involved representatives from industry, regulators and trade unions. The OSPRAG report was published in 2011. A well capping device was developed to enhance the UK’s capability to respond to a major, sustained release of oil by closing off the well should a major well control incident occur.
KP4 (AGEING & LIFE EXTENSION) INSPECTION PROGRAMME LAUNCHED
The HSE’s KP4 inspection programme, which came into effect on 28 July 2010, was set up to ensure the risk to asset integrity arising from ageing and life extension is being adequately controlled.
The objectives of KP4 are:
• to raise awareness of the need for specific consideration of ageing issues as a distinct activity within the asset integrity management process
•to inspect duty holders’ approaches to the management of the risks to asset integrity associated with ageing and life extension
• to identify shortcomings and enforce an appropriate programme of remedial action where necessary
• to work with the offshore industry to establish a common approach to the management of ageing installations.
GUIDANCE ON THE CONDUCT AND MANAGEMENT OF OPERATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT FOR UKCS OFFSHORE OIL AND GAS OPERATIONS
The Oil & Gas UK guidelines were produced to help duty holders develop, maintain and implement ORA procedures that achieve a legally compliant, systematic and effective approach to operational risk management processes following concerns raised by HSE that ORA was being used to continue operations rather than address degrading safety critical elements.
GAS LEAK, UK
A gas leak occurred within the well during operation to plug and decommission the well. Failure of the C annulus is understood to have caused the leak. All non-essential personnel were evacuated. The leak was successfully stopped on 16 May 2012.
GUIDANCE ON THE MANAGEMENT OF AGEING AND LIFE EXTENSION FOR UKCS OIL AND GAS INSTALLATIONS GUIDELINES PUBLISHED
This guidance aims to inform and influence duty holder management systems in respect of asset ageing and life extension factors.
Following two ditchings of EC225 helicopters in 12 months, on 10 May 2012 and 22 October 2012, the use of these aircraft for North Sea operations was suspended, pending root cause investigations by Air Accident Investigation Branch.
Both industry and regulators took the stance to suspend operations to ensure the safety of the workforce. Safe reintroduction to service is expected in the second half of 2013.
HSE OFFSHORE DIVISION BECAME PART OF THE NEW HSE ENERGY DIVISION
HSE announced that a new Energy Division would be formed in which the Offshore Division would be incorporated as part of a wider HSE reorganisation.
EU SAFETY DIRECTIVE
RATIFIED BY EU PARLIAMENT
On 27 October 2011, the EC published a draft regulation proposal for offshore safety to seek to centralise control of offshore health and safety and environmental protection in Europe.
This would have led to the well-established UK safety regime being dismantled and replaced, causing concern across industry. After significant lobbying and discussion it has been agreed that the proposal will be changed to a Directive, which was ratified by EU Parliament in May 2013.
HYDROCARBON RELEASE REDUCTION TARGET
The industry fell just short of its stated 50% reduction in hydrocarbon releases target, achieving a reduction over the three year period of 48%.