• Robert Spicer

Largest ever North Sea gas release: £1.125 million fine

North Sea gas release: £1.125 million fine

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service v Total E&P UK Ltd (2015) Aberdeen Sheriff Court, December 22.

Total E&P UK Ltd, an oil and gas company, has been fined following the largest ever North Sea gas release.

Significant points of the case

  • In March 2012 workers at the Elgin Offshore platform attempted a “well-kill”. A sudden an uncontrolled release of gas and condensate occurred. This created a real risk of fire or explosion. All 238 personnel on the rig were evacuated.

  • Neighbouring platforms were closed down. A two-mile shipping and aircraft exclusion zone was imposed around the platform. The well was brought under control over 51 days. More than 6000 tons of gas and condensate were released.

  • The company had experienced problems of high pressure leaking into the affected well. It suffered a series of casing failures. The company then started a well-kill operation. It failed to identify and implement sufficient control measures and control of the well was progressively lost until it failed.

The company was fined £1.125 million for a breach of regulation 13, Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996

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