In a letter to oil and gas companies, Chris Flint, the HSE’s director of energy division, says: major hydrocarbon releases “remain a concern because of their greater potential to lead to fires, explosions and multiple losses of life. There have been several such releases in recent years that have come perilously close to disaster.”
We are approaching the 30th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster: a platform that exploded in July 1988 killing167 men.
The BBC article on the warning does not mention that methane released is a greenhouse gas, and the climate change implications. A September 2017 study by an international team of scientists found that abandoned North Sea wells may be leaking ‘significant’ methane. Despite the scale of emissions that may be leaking from abandoned wells, the authors point out, these emissions are not currently being monitored by regulators or operators.
Image: screenshot of HSE website