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HSE served prohibition notice on Shell over Brent Charlie gas leak in May

04 August 2017

Shell was served with a Prohibition Notice by the UK offshore safety regulator over concerns a gas leak on its Brent Charlie platform in May could have led to an explosion. The Health & Safety Executive (HSE) took the enforcement action on 27 May, according to information published by the regulator on its website on August 2.

Brent Charlie - Image: Shell
Brent Charlie - Image: Shell

The HSE said the notice related to a “potential for fire and explosion” on the Brent Charlie platform, and that Shell had failed to act under the Offshore Prevention of Fire regulations. The breach, it said, related to the possibility of an uncontrolled release of flammable or explosive hydrocarbons from safety critical pipework in the Column Four leg.

Non-essential workers were taken off Brent Charlie following the suspected release on May 19.
At the time Shell, said production has been halted and that the source of the leak had been isolated. It has now emerged that production is still shut in at the ageing facility, 110 miles north-east of Shetland.

Shell said it was continuing to work through the necessary actions required to enable the safe restart of the installation.

The Brent field has been in production since the early 1970s and is one of the oldest and most productive North Sea fields. Production from Brent Delta stopped in December 2011 and both Alpha and Bravo in November 2014. Production from Charlie is expected to stop within the next few years.

As part of the field's decommissioning programme, Brent Delta’s topsides were removed in May and taken to Hartlepool where 97% of the materials will be recycled.


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