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Friday, July 12, 2013

Offshore Blowouts: causes and control

Exploration and development of offshore oil and gas fields involve a number of risks related to loss of human lives, pollution, and loss of material assets. All those involved in the offshore industry are aware of the hazards. The potential for major accidents will always be present, but it is important to keep the risks within acceptable levels, and as low as reasonably practicable.
A main contributor to the total risk is uncontrolled release of pressurized hydrocarbons, i.e., gas leakages and blowouts. It should, however, not be forgotten that other aspects such as vessel stability, helicopter transport, and occupational accidents are also significant contributors to the total risk.

Written by: Per Holand
No. of pages: 177
History shows that uncontrolled releases of hydrocarbons have caused several major accidents. The Bravo blowout on the Ekofisk field in 1977, the West Vanguard blowout in 1985, the Piper Alpha gas leak in 1988, and the Ocean Odyssey blowout in 1988 are all well-known accidents that occurred in the North Sea. In addition, several less severe accidents involving uncontrolled releases have occurred in the North Sea.
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