HSE inspectors have found nearly 26,000 hours of safety-critical maintenance work left outstanding across several Apache North Sea platforms.
An improvement notice issued by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said Apache had 25,800 hours of Safety and Environmentally Critical Elements (SECE) backlog across seven UK installations.
Of this, more than 6,000 hours had not been risk assessed to determine the risk factor to those on board the assets.
Industry commentators have already highlighted the “alarming” level of maintenance backlog on offshore assets, an issue which has been ongoing since the Covid pandemic.
An Apache spokesperson confirmed it received the notice on October 11 and has been working to address the outstanding maintenance.
“At the time the notice was received, Apache was in the process of planning for deferred maintenance repairs. We take a pro-active approach to identify and address needed maintenance. The notice coincided with our planning and execution processes.
“Our maintenance team has allocated additional resources and have successfully reduced the number of non-deferred SECE (Safety and Environmentally Critical Elements) work orders.
“Apache is committed to safe and responsible operations. We remain focussed on all maintenance work and continue to implement appropriate mitigations to maintain safe, ongoing operations.”
The specific platforms have not been named.
Apache was among firms cited in a report from EV in July highlighting major safety failings across more than a dozen North Sea platforms and tens of thousands of hours of safety-critical backlog.
RMT said at the time that such backlogs are “shocking and far too slow in being addressed”.
Unite the union said it was good to see HSE taking action “before we have another major incident”.
Trade body Offshore Energies UK said industry is in action on the issue; the backlog saw a 4% dip in 2022 while it is waiting to see the impact of the 2023 shutdown season.
Of the backlog, OEUK said 40% had moved from undeferred to deferred, meaning it has been reviewed by technical specialists.