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Statoil says October gas terminal incident could have killed staff

21 December 2016

An incident at Statoil's Sture gas terminal in western Norway on October 12, where five people were injured in a hydrogen sulphide (H2S) release, was highly serious and could have resulted in fatalities, the Norwegian oil major said on December 21. One of the five individuals was critically injured, one seriously injured and three individuals were slightly injured. All made a full recovery and are now back in normal work.

The Sture terminal in Hordaland, Norway - Image: Statoil
The Sture terminal in Hordaland, Norway - Image: Statoil

"The internal investigation report defines the incident as having the highest degree of seriousness, and concludes that in other slightly different circumstances the incident could have resulted in fatalities," Statoil said in a statement.

The affected staff were two operators, one apprentice and two students on work placements, who were all exposed to H2S gas at the Sture terminal in connection with work on an H2S reactor. A 14-metre high concrete vessel, the H2S reactor works as a produced water and ballast water cleaning facility with a short vent pipe on the top.

The Sture terminal is located in the Øygarden municipality in Hordaland and receives crude and condensate from the Oseberg, Grane and Edvard Grieg fields through a network of pipelines. Between 200 and 500 ships call at Sture each year, according to Statoil.

An incident at the Statfjord A platform was not as serious as the one at Sture, the company concluded in a separate investigation. The investigations did not find evidence of a link between the incidents and the company's ongoing cost cuts and efficiency drives, Statoil said. Both reports have now been submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.

“The serious incidents that occurred this autumn are not satisfactory. It is imperative for us to carefully look into all aspects of the incidents to ensure that learning helps improve safety. The investigation reports will be systematically followed up with specific measures to further strengthen our safety work,” said Jannicke Nilsson, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of Statoil.

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