The investigations following an industrial oil and gas related accident involving exposure to H2S at the Sture terminal and smoke development and a small fire in a utility shaft on Statfjord A have been completed.
The reports have been submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.
On Wednesday 12 October five people were injured after being exposed to H2S gas (hydrogen sulphide) at the Sture terminal outside Bergen.
On Sunday 16 October smoke development and a fire in a utility shaft on Statfjord A was reported. Nobody was injured in the incident.
Five people; two operators, one apprentice and two students on work placements, were exposed to H2S gas at the Sture terminal in connection with work on an H2S reactor. A 14-metre high concrete vessel, the H2S reactor works as a produced water and ballast water cleaning facility with a short vent pipe on the top. One of the five individuals was critically injured, one seriously injured and three individuals were slightly injured. All made a full recovery and are now back in normal routines at work and/or at school.
The internal investigation report defines the incident as having the highest degree of seriousness, and concludes that in other slightly different circumstances the incident could have resulted in fatalities.
The report emphasises several root causes of the incident. Inadequate risk understanding, inadequate skills and emergency response management, in addition to failing barriers in connection with the inspection of the H2S reactor are key elements here. The report forms the basis for measures including: specific operational measures such as more use of portable gas detectors and improved operational procedures related to the H2S reactor, as well as general actions to help increase risk understanding among all employees and improve the quality of the safety work.
A small fire occurred in the seal oil in the loading pump transferring oil from the platform to the tanker. When the stop signal to the pump was activated, it led to fatigue fracture on the shaft inside the switch chamber where the power is connected/disconnected. The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system.
Improvement work and safety
Several incidents this autumn called for actions to find out whether there are any connections between the incidents and Statoil’s improvement programmes.
Other incidents that occurred this autumn are still under investigation. In order to follow up the incidents Statoil has initiated actions to expand and improve the company’s safety effort, with particular focus on safety management, learning and collaboration, both across the organisation and in relation to suppliers and collaboration partners.
The Sture and Statfjord A incidents are also being investigated by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and the police.