Piper Alpha Disaster

Topics: Piper Alpha, Oil platform, North Sea Pages: 9 (2561 words) Published: December 18, 2011
Alpha Piper Disaster
The accident, which occurred on board of the seaward platform Piper Alpha in July 1988, took lives of 167 people and cost billions of dollars damage of property. The Piper Alpha is placed in the North Sea, around 193 km northeast of Aberdeen. The field was discovered in January 1973 and the same year construction of platform took place. The depth of it was up to 140 m, and at the time the development and installation of the Piper Alpha platform give tongue to a major step in both the development of the UK offshore resources and technology. The basic design of the topsides was establish on those used in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform production of oil started in December 1976 when the first two wells were brought on-stream. During its primitive life the Piper Alpha platform proved highly productive, producing up to 360 kilo barrels of oil per day. At the time of the disaster, the oil production had dropped to some 125 kilo barrels of oil per day, with many wells containing a high quantity of produced water. The oil was brought up ashore through a sub-sea line 206 km long to the Island of Flotta in the Orkneys for building onshore terminal. The oil production from the Piper Alpha platform contained around 10% of the UK production from the UK area of the North Sea. (1)

The disaster was caused by a massive fire, which wasn’t predicted. Most of them have been implemented in the organization, it’s structure and procedures. This research analyzes the scenario of an accident, using a risk analysis that determines how human decisions and actions affect the occurrence of major events, and then identifies the roots of the organizational decisions and actions. The organizational factors are common to other industrial and technical systems. This include deficiencies in the guidelines for project design and methods such as strenuous physical linkage or insufficient excess, misguided priorities in the management of the exchange between the performance and safety errors in management personnel on board, and errors in judgments that financial pressures are applied on the production sector on the oil companies definition of profit centers resulting deficiencies in inspection and maintenance operations. This analytical approach allows the identification of risk management measures that go beyond the merely technical for example, add the excess to the security system and, also enable the improvement of management practices.(2)

2. Cause of Accident

Two separate permissions to the work were released for the compressed pumps, one for repairing the pump and one in order to verify RV. Work of RV was not finished toward the end changes, also, instead of working overtime in order to finish this, it was decided to finish permission during that day and the following motion.

The craft of observer stopped permission and returned them into the control room, without reporting to operational status of state. During the commodity turnover of change they named status of pump, but no reference there was made from the work of RV, and there was no reference whatever about this in the repair of sending or registrations.

By prolonged problems with the commodity turnovers and the correspondence to registration reports was the problem, known to certain. Permission to the work for the pump and RV was not turned to each other, and it is probable that the permissions were given in the separate positions, one in the control room and one in the office of safety.

When the alloyed pump of on-line, is later that been unsuccessful in order to change, creating imperative in order to begin spare part in order to allow prolonged production, the state of control room it only knew about the permission in order to repair pump, and pump continued to return to the repair.

Permit work system (PTW) frequently was not carried out according to procedure. For example omissions were disseminated, frequently the operating...
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