Case studies in the Oil and Gas industry
Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd. The platform began production in 1976, first as an oil platform and then later converted to gas production. An explosion and resulting fire destroyed it on July 6, 1988, killing 167 men, with only 59 survivors. The death toll includes 2 crewmen of a rescue vessel. Total insured loss was about £1.7 billion (US$ 3.4 billion). At the time of the disaster the platform accounted for approximately ten percent of North Sea oil and gas production, and was the worst offshore oil disaster in terms of lives lost and industry impact. The Kirk of St Nicholas in Union Street, Aberdeen has dedicated a chapel in memory of those who perished and there is a memorial sculpture in the Rose Garden of Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen. Thirty bodies were not recovered.
Gulf Oil Spill
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill (also referred to as the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the BP oil disaster or the Macondo blowout) is an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the largest marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. The spill stemmed from a sea-floor oil gusher that resulted from the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion. The explosion killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others. On July 15, the leak was stopped by capping the gushing wellhead after releasing about 4.9 million barrels (780×103 m3) of crude oil. It was estimated that 53,000 barrels per day (8,400 m3/d) were escaping from the well just before it was capped. It is believed that the daily flow rate diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 barrels per day (9,900 m3/d) and decreasing as the reservoir of hydrocarbons feeding the gusher was gradually depleted. The spill has caused extensive damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. Skimmer ships, floating containment booms, anchored barriers, and sand-filled barricades along shorelines were used in an attempt to protect hundreds of miles of beaches, wetlands and estuaries from the spreading oil. Scientists have also reported immense underwater plumes of dissolved oil not visible at the surface. The U.S. Government has named BP as the responsible party, and officials have committed to holding the company accountable for all cleanup costs and other damage.
Alexander L. Kielland
The Alexander L. Kielland was a Norwegian semi-submersible drilling rig that capsized whilst working in the Ekofisk oil field in March 1980 killing 123 people. The capsize was the worst disaster in Norwegian waters since World War II. The rig, located approximately 320 km east from Dundee, Scotland, was owned by the Stavanger Drilling Company of Norway and was on hire to the U.S. company Phillips Petroleum at the time of the disaster. The rig was named after the Norwegian writer Alexander Lange Kielland. The rig was built as a mobile drilling unit at a French shipyard, and delivered to Stavanger Drilling in July 1976. The floating drill rig was not however used for drilling purposes but served as a semi-submersible 'flotel' providing living quarters for offshore workers. By 1978 additional accommodation blocks had been added to the platform, so that up to 386 persons could be accommodated. In 1980 the platform was working in the Norwegian north sea providing offshore accommodation for the Edda 2/7C production platform.
In driving rain and mist, early in the evening of 27 March 1980 more than 200 men were off duty in the accommodation on the Alexander L. Kielland. The wind was gusting to 40 knots with waves up to 12m high. The rig had just been winched away from the Edda production platform. Minutes before 18.30 those on board felt a 'sharp crack' followed by 'some kind of trembling'. Suddenly the rig heeled over 30° and then stabilised. Five of the six anchor cables had broken, the one remaining...
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