UK seeks to halve offshore hydrocarbon leaks

Offshore staff

LONDON -- UK operators have committed to cut hydrocarbon leaks from offshore installations by 50% over the next three years, according to industry association Oil & Gas UK.

Following collaboration between the industry and offshore safety initiative Step Change in Safety, the number of accidental hydrocarbon releases since 1997 has almost halved, the association claims.

However, in recent years, improvements have slowed, and the industry is now looking for a further downward push.

Step Change in Safety’s co-chair John Forrest, also Talisman Energy’s senior VP and UK country manager, said: “Since Step Change in Safety was created in 1997, there has been a 44% reduction in major and significant hydrocarbon releases. However, the last few years have shown the numbers of hydrocarbon releases have been ‘flat-lining’…

“There are multiple barriers in place to stop releases of oil and gas. However, it’s important to remember that, even if they do occur, there are further multiple barriers to prevent them from escalating into a more serious incident. Needless to say, however, safety is paramount and minimizing the likelihood of a release occurring in the first place must come first.”

Companies managing UK offshore installations will incur the main responsibility for halving hydrocarbon releases, but Step Change in Safety will play its part by disseminating to its member companies analyses of root causes of incidents, addressing management of aging offshore assets, and circulating best practice.


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