BG Group, now part of Shell, stung over safety failings

Lomond platform
A worker on the Lomond platform was allegedly exposed to radiation

BG Group has been reprimanded after failing to install fire safety equipment on an offshore gas processing platform that was first recommended 14 years ago, it has been discovered.

Workplace watchdog the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued the firm, now part of energy giant Shell, with an improvement notice regarding the failure on board the Lomond installation, some 145 miles off of Aberdeen.

Investigators found that a gas detection system, which formed part of the current fire and gas detection assessment, had never been installed.

It was first recommended in a study in 2003 and 2013 into the Lomond platform. The Lomond is a former BG Group asset, which became part of Shell’s portfolio following a takeover of the company last year.

The firm was also told by HSE that it had failed to install the safety devices or “provide adequate justification of their omission”.

The notice added: “You cannot therefore demonstrate the adequacy of your fire and gas detection system of only line of sight detectors.”

The inspection also also found that BG had failed to maintain and test plant and equipment, including not carrying out a yearly test since 2014.

Specifically the notice referred to the the maintenance of the Erskine Process Module (EPM) High Integrity Protection System (HIPS) and associated valves to allow a full end to end test of the said system in accordance with maintenance and testing procedures.

This piece of equipment is on-board the Lomond, not the neighbouring Erskine – which is a Chevron operated asset.

The HSE notice said: “The inspection found (a) associated valves passing resulting in an inability to test the HIPS transmitters in situ, (b) that the last HIPS end to end proof test occurred in April 2014, and (c) your procedures and Performance Standard require a 12 monthly test where this appeared to have only occurred once in over 3 years.”

A Shell spokesman said: “Shell UK can confirm that we have been issued with two HSE improvement notices on May 31 in relation to maintenance / testing procedures and the fire and gas detection system within a small number of process modules at our Lomond installation in the central North Sea.

“We are currently working to address the requirements of these Improvement Notices.”

Lomond is a four-legged braced steel jacket, a combined wellhead/production/quarters platform.

It processes gas and condensate from the Lomond and Erskine fields, which is exported via infield pipelines to the CATS (Central Area Transmission System) Riser platform at North Everest, from where it is exported to Forties and onto the CATS Terminal at Teesside.

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