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Offshore hydrocarbon releases down, major releases up

20th June 2013

Number of minor oil and gas leaks reach 49, their lowest in 17 years, while major releases hit highest in 14 years, as industry sees long-term downward trend in number of hydrocarbon releases

Offshore hydrocarbon releases down, major releases up
Over the past three years, the number of hydrocarbon releases has decreased by 48 per cent

The number of offshore hydrocarbon releases reached a record low last year, new provisional figures from the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reveal.

 

There were 97 incidents reported to HSE in 2012/3, falling from 133 the previous year and continuing a long-term downward trend over the past three years which has seen a 48 per cent in the number of hydrocarbon releases – just short of the ttarget the industry set itself in 2010 to halve releases.

 

Although the combined total of major and significant releases – those most likely to lead to a major incident – fell to a new low of 46 the number of major releases rose from three in 2011/12 to nine, the highest in the last 14 years.

 

The number of minor gas or oil leaks fell to 49, the lowest level since HSE started recording the data in 1996.

 

Speaking ahead of the Oil and Gas UK conference to mark the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster, the HSE chair Judith Hackitt said the figures showing the lowest number of leaks in 15 years was “to be welcomed”.

 

However, Hackitt stressed that the rise in the number of major releases shows must be met by “constant vigilance” as assets continue to age.

 

The figures reveal a 48 per cent reduction in the number of hydrocarbon releases over the last three years – just short of the target the industry set itself in 2010 to halve releases.

 

The target was set following pressure from HSE to improve performance. In 2009/10 there were 187 hydrocarbon releases, of which 86 were classified as significant or major (84 significant and two major).

 

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