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UK HSE warns Ithaca Energy for exposing workers to potentially explosive atmosphere

26 March 2020

The UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has warned oil and gas operator Ithaca Energy after it exposed workers to the risk of injury from fire or explosion on one of its floating storage vessels in the North Sea.

Representative image: Shutterstock
Representative image: Shutterstock

The HSE issued an improvement notice after it visited the Alba floating storage unit (FSU) between January 14-16. The notice states that Ithaca had failed to demonstrate “appropriate measures to prevent formation of a flammable atmosphere within the cargo tanks or associated pipework thereby exposing the personnel onboard to the risk of serious personal injury or death from fire and explosion.”

The HSE inspector said that the piping on the open hazardous drains system of the Alba FSU had integrity issues which created potential routes for oxygen ingress into the tanks through the drainpipe. Furthermore, no records were made available to confirm whether there was an oxygen deficient atmosphere within the cargo tanks.

Ithaca Energy has until August 14 to comply with the issues raised by the improvement notice. According to The Energy Voice, a spokesperson for Ithaca said that the company was taking immediate steps to rectify the safety conditions on the Alba FSU.

Ithaca Energy is an oil and gas company with production, development and exploration operations focused on the UK North Sea. The company, founded in 2004, is owned by Israel’s Delek Group. Ithaca Energy took over the Alba FSU as part of its £1.6 billion ($2bn) purchase of Chevron’s North Sea assets in November 2019.

Read the HSE’s improvement notice in full here:

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