The oil and gas industry has recently set a goal of cutting leaks from offshore platforms by 50% over the next three years. The announcement was made by Oil and Gas UK and Step Change in Safety on 9 January 2011.

The target comes after the industry was criticised by HSE in August 2010 and told to “up its game” following the release of safety statistics showing an increase in the number of hydrocarbon releases. The fi gures showed an increase in the number of major and signifi cant hydrocarbon releases from 61 in 2008/2009 to 85 in 2009/2010. HSE described this type of event as a “key indicator” of how well the offshore industry is managing its major accident potential.

Step Change in Safety, a safety initiative launched in 1997, has asked the managing directors of its member companies to build this target reduction into their business plans. John Forrest, co-chair of Step Change, stated that although there are multiple barriers in place to stop releases of oil and gas, it is also important to remember that even if they do occur, there are further barriers to prevent them from escalating into a more serious incident.

Although the responsibility for reducing the number of hydrocarbon releases will fall fi rstly on the companies managing oil and gas installations, Step Change hope to drive the reduction at an industry level by sharing analyses of the root causes of incidents, addressing the management of ageing assets, and circulating best practice.

To view our original Law Now article on HSE’s warning to the industry, please go to: hsewarnsoilandgas240810.htm