A flagship report released today (Wednesday, November 4) outlines the UK offshore oil and gas industry’s health, safety and environmental performance in 2019, and highlights future plans for further improvement.
The latest findings were revealed by leading representative body OGUK, which today published its first combined report into health, safety and environment data, showing encouraging signs of improvement across a broad range of HSE indicators.
While the findings reveal an increase in total hydrocarbon releases, more serious RIDDOR-reportable releases decreased year-on-year, from 85 to 67. Overall, 49 per cent (62) of all releases were classed as minor, with 10 per cent still to be classified, and three were classified as major releases.
In aviation safety, last year saw a third consecutive year of accident-free flying in the UKCS, and for the second year running, the five-year fatal accident rate per 100, 000 flying hours remained at zero.
The results demonstrate that, overall, 2019 saw stabilised environmental performance, underlining that good management remains a priority alongside continued improvements in this area.
Commenting on the report, OGUK’s health, safety and environment director Trevor Stapleton said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on oil and gas operations in the North Sea. However, this virus should not and will not distract industry from focusing on its key goal of maintaining safe operations while continuing to provide the energy society needs – however challenging that might be.
“Understanding our past performance means we can identify areas of strength and areas that need further work and focus our efforts accordingly.
“As an industry, we take any hydrocarbon release very seriously. The UK offshore oil and gas industry’s work to improve safety performance is delivering in many areas – but we must continue our relentless focus on safe operations in every aspect.
“The number of these releases considered reportable under RIDDOR requirements is down year-on-year, but there are signs of an increase in the three-year rolling average. We are working closely with operators and regulators to maintain Principles of Process Safety, and our hydrocarbon release prevention strategies will be refined for next year.
“It is encouraging to see that dangerous occurrences and the non-fatal injury rate both fell to their lowest levels in 2019 and, while a single one is too many, it is a testament to industry that continued focus in these areas has resulted in improvement.”
Mr Stapleton added: “We are taking action and working with the UK government on a major sector deal. The deal will give industry opportunities and guidance on decarbonisation, electrification of assets and the development of carbon capture and storage – all of which will drive down emissions.
“Despite the signs of improvement, there can be no room for complacency and the safety of our workforce remains a key priority for our members.”
The Report can be found at: https://oilandgasuk.co.uk/product/health-safety-environment-report/