Ageing oil, gas facilities a health and safety risk: report
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA), which replaced the National Offshore Petroleum Safety Authority (NOPSA) on January 1, released a report into industry performance on Friday.NOPSEMA chief executive Jane Cutler said there had been three uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases of particular concern because of the potential to ignite offshore rigs and wellheads.
"From the early design stages of a facility, to the end of its lifecycle, it is up to industry, regulators and operators alike to be vigilant in their commitment to the safety of people working offshore and improve the overall health and safety performance of the petroleum industry," Cutler said.The hydrocarbon releases happened last year at a wellhead platform, a pipeline and floating production, storage and offloading vessel.
"There are a significant number of facilities in Australian waters which could be considered aged or ageing," the report found."Ageing is considered an OHS concern as, unless a systematic approach is developed, the maintenance and repair resources required to address ageing issues once they have occurred may lead to conflicts between safety and production in the future."
Local energy giant Woodside and American company Apache Energy, which was responsible for the Varanus explosion, were investigated several times for accidents and dangerous incidents in the past year, a report has revealed.Apache's Varanus Island pipeline exploded in 2009, cutting Western Australia's gas supply and WA's business production by billions.
The cause was found to be corrosion of the pipeline which ran along the coastline off WA's north-west coast.NOPSEMA investigated 57 incidents from July last year to December 2011, including 38 incidents which resulted in accident or injury reports.
In July last year Apache Energy Ltd had a dangerous incident when its Ocean Legend facility suffered a power outage leading to an emergency shutdown because its battery banks were below the required voltage.Woodside Energy accounted for nine of the 38 incidents investigated, including one in March last year which left a worker without part of a thumb.
NOPSEMA replaced NOPSA after an extensive inquiry into the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea, off WA's north-west coast, found serious failings in state and territory authorities.Source: Industry Search