Queensland safety magazine released

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The Queensland Division of the Safety Institute of Australia regularly produces a newsletter/magazine of consistent quality and the November 2010 edition is available online.

This edition includes an article by Warwick Pearse on the Montara oil spill.  Pearse did not have the luxury of access to the final reports or government’s response but he makes sound recommendations.

Kevin Jones

Montara oil spill report finally released

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On 24 November 2010, the Australian Government finally released the investigation report into the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea that has similarities to the oil rig explosion of BP in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

The Energy & Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, has sat on the report since the Board of Inquiry presented its findings in June 2010 even though there could have been industry-wide safety and design lessons.  Significantly, the report was released after the recent Federal election  and, according to the Minister’s media release, has found :

“At the heart of this matter is the failure of the operator and the failure of the regulator to adhere to this regime.  Montara was preventable.  If either – or preferably both – PTTEP AA or the Northern Territory Designated Authority had done their jobs properly and complied with requirements, the Montara Blowout would never have happened.”

For those readers in America and the Gulf of Mexico, these words may echo what they have heard only a few months ago.

The Government response supports the Report’s finding states:

“…that PTTEP AA’s widespread and systemic procedural shortcomings were a direct cause of the Montara incident.  In addition, the Report identified concerns relating to the integrity of the remaining wells (H2, H3, H4 and GI) at the Montara Wellhead Platform.  The Commissioner concluded that PTTEP AA did not achieve proper control of any of the five wells at the Montara oil field, and that PTTEP AA’s internal systems were insufficient to achieve a high quality of assurance in respect of well operations.” [link added] Continue reading “Montara oil spill report finally released”

Australian OHS expert in advisory role on Gulf oil spill

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Australian Professor Andrew Hopkins is currently in the United States advising the Chemical Safety Board in its investigation of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Several months ago it was rumoured that Hopkins would be part of the Commission of Inquiry, a rumour quickly denied by Hopkins and others.

According to a media release from FutureMedia, Hopkins will

“…spend several months working at the Board’s office in Denver as well as interviewing company managers in both the US and in London, where BP is headquartered.”

Hopkins has been interviewed by many media outlets in relation to the Gulf Oil Spill and BP’s safety culture due to his investigation of the Texas Oil Refinery explosion at a BP facility in 2005.  Continue reading “Australian OHS expert in advisory role on Gulf oil spill”

BP releases internal Gulf disaster report

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BP has released its internal inquiry report into the Deep Horizon oil rig disaster.  The company has released an executive summary, the full report, a video and a press release.  Not surprising there are multiple factors that combined to create the disaster but it is significant that BP stresses that ““multiple companies and work teams” contributed to the accident”.  Clearly a major purpose of the media statements is to indicate that BP should carry the entire responsibility for the incident, a position it has consistently voiced.

The report requires a fair amount of analysis to identify the lessons and any lessons will need to be compared with any of the findings from the other investigations being undertaken.  Also, BP has settled into its PR damage control process and careful analysis of the report and the media statements over the next few days in particular will provide much information on process safety, business continuity and media management.

Kevin Jones

Pressure grows for the release of oil drilling investigation

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The Australian government has indicated that it will release a report into the Montara oil spill after the general election.  However the Australian election result remains in doubt and, therefore, still no report.

The frustration over this stalling has begun to appear in the very conservative Australian newspaper, The Australian Financial Review (AFR). Once the business and financial community start complaining, a government knows something is serious.

In the AFR editorial on 1 September 2010 (not available online),

“The Borthwick report is likely to make some tough recommendations on safety procedures to prevent another spill. The inquiry heard extraordinary evidence that crucial work programs on the rig were sometimes scrawled on a whiteboard. PTTEP has a promised to review its procedures in the light of the deficiencies raised at the inquiry, but the government should look further afield. It is hard to imagine that PTTEP was a totally isolated case.” Continue reading “Pressure grows for the release of oil drilling investigation”