UK leak data goes public

Taking the initiative: Oil & Gas UK's Robert Paterson says new disclosures are a huge step forward

The UK oil industry has for the first time voluntarily released to the public detailed information about oil and gas leaks on North Sea platforms.

The statistics - identifying the size and type of hydrocarbon releases, when they occurred and on which facility - are now available on the website of trade association Oil & Gas UK.

They are being released each quarter, three months in arrears, with the first set covering the three months to the end of June.

Oil & Gas UK’s health and safety director Robert Paterson, who has helped to drive the initiative forward, told Upstream: “This is a huge step forward.”

The new statistics show Talisman Energy recorded the greatest number of releases in the second quarter, comprising eight gas and two oil leaks and one involving condensate.

Jake Molloy, regional organiser of offshore union OILC-RMT, welcomed the publication but said it was long overdue.

A groundswell of support for the release of the data developed after the industry was criticised for lacking transparency following the subsea oil leak at Shell’s Gannet field in August.

Up to now, the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) has released overall data about the number of hydrocarbon releases but not detailed breakdowns about the performance of individual operators and platforms.

That information has only been made available if members of the public requested it under Freedom of Information legislation.

The UK industry, through the cross-industry Step Change in Safety initiative, has set a self-imposed goal of cutting hydrocarbon releases by 50% by 2013.

For more details see Friday 23 December’s print edition of Upstream.

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