Ithaca Energy has been warned by the UK’s safety watchdog after exposing workers to “risk of serious personal injury or death from fire and explosion” on a North Sea vessel.
The Health and Safety Executive issued the improvement notice after visiting the Alba floating storage unit (FSU) in January.
An inspector stated that Ithaca failed to demonstrate that it had taken measures to “prevent formation of a flammable atmosphere” within the cargo tanks or associated pipework.
HSE said it could not be confirmed that there was positive pressure to prevent oxygen entering the tanks, which could form such an atmosphere.
The regulator also pointed to “integrity issues” which could allow oxygen to ingress into the tanks via the drain pipe.
Ithaca has until August 14 to rectify the situation and a spokeswoman said the firm is taking “immediate steps” to do so.
She added: “The HSE has highlighted an improvement opportunity, which we acknowledge and accept. We have taken immediate steps to mitigate the HSE’s concerns and will work with them, in a constructive and timely manner, to fully close this notice.”
The firm, owned by Israel’s Delek Group, took over operatorship of Alba in November after completing a £1.6bn deal for US oil major Chevron’s North Sea assets.
Alba lies 130 miles north-east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea.
It first achieved oil in 1994 and is served by the Alba Northern platform and the FSU, which transports oil to refineries for processing.
Alba gas is used for fuel and the platform is also connected by a 2.5mile gas line to the Britannia platform, which Ithaca holds a 32% stake in.