Latest News

    PSA Norway tackles lifeboats safety issue (Thursday, 2 October 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The deadline for comments on changes proposed by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) to regulations for lifeboats on offshore facilities expired on October 1, 2014.PSA says these responses will now be studied in detail before the amendments are finalised.Ensuring the same level of safety for everyone working in the Norwegian petroleum industry has been the fundamental principle underlying the PSA’s work on the lifeboat issue, the regulator says. This means that compensatory measures must be adopted on a facility if its lifeboats fail to satisfy the official regulations. Such action could include improvements to the craft themselves, operational restrictions, halting activities or reducing the offshore workforce during bad weather.The lifeboat issue on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) goes back to 2005, when a freefall lifeboat on the Veslefrikk B platform suffered serious damage during a test drop. This incident prompted extensive studies, which found that neither freefall nor davit-lowered lifeboats on the NCS satisfied the official requirements for evacuation. Weaknesses identified related to the structural strength of lifeboat superstructures and hulls, gravitational forces acting on passengers, and the propulsion needed to escape from a facility.“A functional requirement in the regulations is that it must be possible to evacuate personnel from offshore facilities to a safe area in all weather conditions,” explains Anne Vatten, the PSA’s director of legal and regulatory affairs. “The proposed regulatory changes don’t involve any sharpening of this requirement. They’re intended first and foremost to clarify the provisions on structural strength, passenger safety and propulsion. References are also provided to new standards and norms produced by the industry itself. “Strictly speaking, the proposed amendments to the regulations merely involve returning us to the level of safety we thought prevailed in 2005.”According to PSA, Statoil has been the flagship in efforts to upgrade lifeboats on the NCS, and appreciated the need for improvements at an early stage. PSA also says that Statoil has devoted substantial efforts to finding solutions for the facilities it operates, including the development of completely new lifeboats which meet the evacuation requirements.After a further systematic review of its lifeboats, Statoil informed the PSA this summer about structural weaknesses in a number of its freefall craft.The company has accordingly introduced operational restrictions on 14 of its facilities, and an upgrade plan is now in place. It had a meeting as recently as September with the PSA to present its new findings, PSA writes.“It’s positive that Statoil has conducted this thorough review and accepted responsibility,” says PSA director-general Anne Myhrvold.“Together with the lifeboat suppliers, it has made a substantial contribution in this area and deserves praise for that.”Despite major industry projects, however, important work remains to be done and Myhrvold emphasises that each player has an independent responsibility for an acceptable evacuation.“Through our supervisory activities, we’ll now follow up how other players on the NCS use the information provided by Statoil to ensure this from their facilities,” she says.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.com

    Dundee Forth Ports set to enter North Sea oil sector (Thursday, 2 October 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Port of Dundee operator Forth Ports said it will focus its efforts on enhancing the city’s position in the North Sea oil sector, as profit at the group leapt thanks to revaluations and finance credits.The group — which has quayside facilities in Leith, throughout Fife and at Tilbury in its portfolio — also said it will support the development of a supply chain for key industries, including renewable energy, throughout its operations in Scotland.Documents filed at Companies House reveal turnover rose 2.9% to £217.2 million last year, with the group hailing increases in its port operations and marine arms, including a “strong performance” on the Thames.The trading strength more than offset a “small” decline in fortunes at the London Container Terminal and Nordic Recycling facility, also at Tilbury.But the group, which employed an average of 1,140 people across the UK, said it would seek to boost prospects for Leith and Dundee in “supporting North Sea oil related activities” through collaborative working, while also working on the cruise markets and providing additional facilities “where necessary”.Supporting “efficient supply chains for some of Scotland’s key industries, such as North Sea oil and gas, food and drink, agriculture and renewables” was also listed as a “key development in the foreseeable future”.Other priorities include progressing a warehousing complex at Tilbury, as well as expanding London Paper Terminal, growing ro-ro ferry traffic and developing the area at the UK’s leading waste and recycling port.In 2010 the Port of Dundee was identified as one of Scotland’s top prospects for renewables manufacturing under Scottish Enterprise’s National Renewables Infrastructure Plan.A memorandum of understanding between the port, Perth-based power giant SSE, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise was then signed amid fanfare in 2011, with the stated aim of supporting SSE and its partners in establishing a competitive supply chain for its offshore wind development programme.But politicians’ claims over the scale of the opportunity have so far not translated into jobs, with would-be investors turning their attention elsewhere.SSE has since scaled back its exposure to offshore wind projects amid a lack of clarity over subsidies, and difficulties attracting sufficient backing for the industry. Meanwhile, developers continue efforts to develop new technology and cut costs.Overall, Edinburgh-registered Forth Ports’ pre-tax profits rose more than four-and-a-half times on the previous year to £69.4m. The return was helped by a property revaluation credit of £19.8m and finance income of £12.2m.A dividend of £55m was paid to parent company Otter Ports, itself under the control of infrastructure investment fund Arcus. Source: www.thecourier.co.uk

    Offshore travel clothing policy introduced today (Wednesday, 1 October 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    The Passenger Size workgroup has agreed a standardised clothing policy to be worn under survival suits while travelling in helicopters to offshore installations in UK waters. The policy will be effective from Today(Wednesday, 1st October 2014), in-line with the changeover to the winter season.Do’s -T’shirt-Long sleeve top-Jumper/Fleece-Jacket-Trousers/Jeans/Tracksuit bottoms-Trainers / BootsDon’ts -Shorts-Dresses-Skirts-Hoodies-Sandals/Flip Flops-Crocs-High heelsCan I wear Jeans?Yes you can wear jeans to travel inWhy is summer in June and not in May?We took the average sea temperatures of the UKCS over a number of years to decide when the water is warmer and when it is cooler, therefore requiring more or less layers. We then used this information to decide that Summer is from 1st June – 30th September and Winter is 1st October -31st MayWhy three layers in winter?Studies have shown that the more layers you have on, the lower your rist of getting hypothermia when exposed to cold water. During winter you must wear 3 layers, one or which must be a long-sleeved top. It is important to protect your core so more layers are required to over your chest and internal organsWhy no hoodies?Hoodies, or any item of clothing with a hood, will interfere with the neck seal of the survival suit, it is essential that the seal around your neck and wrists is strong so that in the extremely unlikely event you are in the water there are no weaknesses in the seals to allow water into the suit. Polo-necks and jackets with high collars also pose a risk to the neck seal.More information can be found here: www.stepchangeinsafety.net

    Aibel lays off 230 Haugesund workers (Wednesday, 1 October 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Norwegian engineering and construction company Aibel will reduce its workforce by an additional 230 people.The reductions will affect employees related to the Haugesund location. For the first time since Aibel started reducing its staff in 2014, the terminations now include employees within the construction area.Up to 100 manual workers within the mechanical field will be affected. In addition, up to 130 non-manual workers will be terminated.80 of these work in the CIC segment (Construction, Installation and Commissioning), while 50 are employed within EPM (Engineering, Procurement and Management).The terminations are due to changes in the company’s workload. While previous terminations mainly have affected non-manual workers, it is now necessary to make adjustments to the operational part of the organisation, Aibel has explained.Reductions in AibelMarch 2014: Aibel announced that it will need to reduce its staff by 230 employees. The reductions are divided between all Norwegian locations, as well as the company’s offices in Petersfield and Singapore.August 2014: A new reduction of 250 employees is executed. The reductions are divided between the company’s offices in Bergen, Haugesund, Kristiansund, Harstad, Stjørdal and Hammerfest.October 2014: Up to 230 new terminations will be executed among personnel related to Haugesund.Aibel is service company within the oil and gas industry and is established in renewable energy. The company`s around 5,500 employees in Norway and abroad are engaged onshore and offshore.

    Brent Alpha incident update (Tuesday, 30 September 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    A container which fell into the North Sea and was left hanging 20ft below the surface of the Brent Alpha platform attached only by rope has now been lowered to the sea bed for safety reasons.The container, carrying sections of pipe was being manoeuvred on to an awaiting supply vessel when the crane lifting the container developed a mechanical fault causing the container to fall.The incident occurred on Sunday on Shell's Brent Alpha installation and resulted in 54 non-essentially personal being evacuated from the rig.The container was initially left hanging 20ft below the water, still attached to the crane, but concerns were raised that it would damage existing pipes.Shell said "in due course" it would be recovered but had been placed at a depth of 140m to keep it safe.Shell UK added: “A temporary, non-emergency evacuation of non-essential personnel is has taken place.“A total of 54 people have left the platform, with a team of 28 remaining on board as the planned recovery operation takes place.“Eighteen people were transferred from Brent Alpha to Brent Bravo, Brent Charlie and Brent Delta. A further 19 will then be flown to Aberdeen via Scatsa. The remaining 17 will be flown back to Aberdeen directly from Brent Alpha.”Brent Alpha is 115 miles off Shetland. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been informed of the incident. No-one was injured. 

    North Sea industry £1 trillion ($1.6 trillion) investment needed to meet production goals (Tuesday, 30 September 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    North Sea oil operators’ surging costs risk scaring away the more than 1 trillion pounds ($1.6 trillion) of investment needed to meet their production goals, according to industry lobby Oil & Gas UK.The country needs that investment if it hopes to recover the equivalent of more than 20 billion barrels of oil, it said today in a statement. Production has dropped 40 percent in the past three years as fields mature, while unit operating costs are about 60 percent higher than as recently as 2011.“The U.K. has to compete for each and every pound of that investment,” Malcolm Webb, chief executive officer of the industry group, said today in the statement. “If the current trend of rising cost continues, the U.K. Continental Shelf will cease to provide a healthy return on investment.”A review by Ian Wood, former head of engineering company John Wood Group Plc (WG/), this year estimated there were 12 billion to 24 billion barrels yet to be extracted from the North Sea.“We need a lighter tax burden, a simpler and more predictable system of field allowances and fiscal support for exploration,” said Michael Tholen, director of economics at Oil and Gas UK. The government is expected to announce the results of its Fiscal Review in December.Source: www.bloomberg.comFurther information: www.oedigital.com

    Shell evacuate non-essential personnel from Brent Alpha due to container incident (Monday, 29 September 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Shell has evacuated all non-essential personnel from the Brent Alpha and de-pressurised both Brent Alpha and Bravo platforms after an mechanical failure saw a large container fall from a crane and plunge into the North Sea.The incident occurred during while winching the container onto an awaiting support vessel. The container rested dangerously close to a mass of subsea pipelines which connect into the Far North Liquids & Associated Gas System (Flags) pipeline.The container is now reportedly dangling from a rope attached to the crane and is thought to be approximately 20ft below the sea surface.A Shell spokeswoman confirmed both the Brent Alpha and Bravo have since been depressurised and a decision was made to evacuate all non-essential personnel today.She said: “Shell UK can confirm that an incident occurred on its Brent Alpha platform involving a lifting operation to transfer a container unit to an adjacent support vessel at around 1750hrs on Sunday 28 September 2014. The Brent Alpha platform is located approximately 115 miles North East of Lerwick.“Personnel on the platform were called to muster, all of whom are safe and well. As a precaution the Brent Alpha and Bravo, which were already shut down as part of ongoing maintenance works, were de-pressurised.“During the lifting operation, a mechanical failure affected the crane. Its operator was able to manoeuvre the container safely away from the platform and its support vessel.”A rescue operation has since been launched and a vessel is currently travelling to the Brent field.The Health and Safety Executive and Maritime and Coastguard Agency have both been informed.More information to follow

    Scott platform remains offline (Monday, 29 September 2014)

    1 Jan 1970, 12:00 am
    Endeavour International Corporation has announced that its Rochelle field in the UK North Sea remains offline.The Rochelle field has been offline since September 9, due to mechanical problems on the Nexen-operated Scott platform, which produces crude oil and natural gas from the Scott, Telford and Rochelle fields.Although the repairs of the Scott export compressors were successfully completed, the gas cooler failed a leak test during commissioning, Endeavour said in the statement.Endeavour has been informed by Nexen that the repair of the leak and restart of Rochelle production is not expected before October 10, 2014.Endeavour has a 44% working interest in the Rochelle field.The Scott platform, which came on stream in 1993 is located about 188 km (116 miles) northeast of Aberdeen in 142 metres (465 feet) of water. Oil from the platform is exported via the Forties pipeline to the Kinneil Terminal in Scotland. Natural gas is exported via the Sage pipeline system.Source: www.offshoreenergytoday.com

News Feeds

Oil and Gas Jobs Health and Safety Community