BG is facing imminent prosecution over two massive gas leaks on one of its North Sea platforms, which an offshore union claims ‘came within a spark of being a Piper Alpha repeat’.
The Health & Safety Executive recently completed an investigation into the incidents. A spokesman said legal proceedings against BG Exploration & Production, which operates the platform on the Rough storage field, were ‘under consideration’.
The spokesman added that the inspectors had taken enforcement action following the leaks, which occurred on 13 February and 20 May.
In the first incident, the automatic response of the platform’s fire and gas system had been disabled in line with a permit to work, and the deluge sprinklers were not activated until 10 minutes after the initial alarms went off.
The MSF union said that staff shortages were a big contributory factor in both cases.
Following the second leak which, the union said, resulted from workers being given insufficient time to remove parts from a compressor the HSE issued an improvement notice that led to the company increasing staff levels.
A spokesman for BG Exploration & Production said the company could not comment on the incidents while proceedings were pending.