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Marathon shuts North Sea platform after gas leak

03 January 2016

Production was shut down on Marathon Oil’s Brae Alpha platform after a gas leak alarm was raised on December 26, and five days later the company said it was still conducting investigations and did not know when production would restart. A Coastguard helicopter which flew out to the rig returned without landing and 73 workers remain on board the platform, which is situated about 170 miles north east of Aberdeen.

Stock image
Stock image

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency said it had also been alerted to the leak when the platform issued a distress call after a number of gas alarms went off in response to the leak.

In November, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) imposed an improvement notice on Marathon after a June leak on Brae Alpha was said to have “put the health and safety of individuals on the platform at risk”. Marathon was given until April to comply with the notice.

According to the HSE report, the gas leak originated from the Brae Alpha’s West Brae Caisson- a protective cylinder containing gas risers and pipelines running between the subsea West Brae field and the Brae Alpha platform.

The report indicated that the leak was due to a corroded 3” gas lift riser that had failed. Another 6” gas lift riser was said to be operating beyond its design life and apart from a visual inspection there was insufficient information to ensure that the riser has been maintained in an efficient state.

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