DCSIMG

Probe continues into North Sea gas leak

Investigations into the cause of the leak are continuring

Investigations into the cause of the leak are continuring

  • by FRANK URQUHART
 

AN investigation was continuing today into the cause of a gas leak which has resulted in the shutdown of production from three North Sea oil and gas installations.

AN investigation was continuing today into the cause of a gas leak which has resulted in the shutdown of production from three North Sea oil and gas installations.

A total of 92 oilworkers on the North Cormorant platform, operated by Taqa Bratani, were evacuated in the early hours of Sunday morning following a gas alert on the installation, 110 miles North east of Shetland.

Production has also been shutdown as a precautionary measure at the neighbouring Tern and Eider platforms which also feed their hydrocarbon production into the North Cormorant installation.

A spokeswoman for Taqa said that the North Cormorant platform had been shut down and depressurised at 5.15am on Sunday “as a result of an indication of gas” in the drilling area of the platform. All 202 personnel on board were safe and well but, as a precautionary measure, 92 non-essential crew had been airlifted by helicopter to nearby Taqa installations.

She continued: “The platform’s well operations have been made safe and the situation is under control. The exact cause of the incident is not yet known however, our number one priority is the safety and welfare of our people on board the facility as well as the surrounding environment.”

The three platforms normally have a combined daily production of 25.000 barrels of oil equivalent.

Oil is imported to North Cormorant from both the nearby Tern and Eider platforms where it is processed before the oil is then routed to the Cormorant Alpha platform for onward transmission through the Brent Pipeline System to Sullom Voe on Shetland.

In November last year 134 non-essential workers were airlifted from the North Cormorant after diesel was found to have contaminated the installation’s fresh water supply

In March this year Total’s Elgin platform had to be completely abandoned because of a leak of potentially explosive gas and condensate.

And Wullie (correct) Wallace, the North east regional industrial organiser for the Unite union, said: “Unite is concerned that this is the second evacuation in the North Sea due to gas leaks in the last six months.

“We welcome the prompt action to evacuate non essential workers but the safety of the remaining workers and the wider North Sea workforce must be of paramount importance and is a source of great concern.”

He added: “Taqa should be investigating the leak and no return to normal working can take place until the safety of the workforce is assured. The HSE should also be fully involved in any investigations.”

 

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