Oil giant BP has been ordered to review the way it handles risk in Norway after a leak at a North Sea platform which a safety watchdog said could have caused a serious accident.
A total of 125 barrels of oil and 1.5 tonnes of gas leaked from an installation at the Ula field during the incident last September, according to Norway’s petroleum safety authority.
The agency said yesterday: “The incident had the potential to become a major accident, with the risk that a number of lives might have been lost and substantial material damage caused.”
The leak at Ula was caused by the fracturing of bolts holding together a valve in a separator outlet. Production was shut for 67 days, but no one was injured.
BP said it was addressing the issues raised by the watchdog, adding: “The findings closely match BP’s own investigation and work has already started to address the issues raised and to fully comply with the orders by the end of 2013.”
Meanwhile, US energy firm Apache reported a shutdown at an oil platform after a discharge of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
Documents filed by Apache with America’s national response centre show a pump malfunctioned, causing Sunday’s discharge of oil and a slick a mile long and 100ft wide.