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    Oz Safety Regulator Cites LNG Project Boom


Hours worked offshore Australia were sharply in 2017, due to four new LNG plants commissioned. Overall safety improved, but uncontrolled gas releases were a worry.

by: Mark Smedley

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Oz Safety Regulator Cites LNG Project Boom

Australia's safety regulatory Nopsema (National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority) reported more hours worked, and safety incidents, last year relative to 2016.

Presenting its Annual Offshore Performance Report for the year ending December 31, 2017, the authority's CEO Stuart Smith said August 8: “The offshore oil and gas industry in Australia saw a dramatic increase in activity in 2017, with a 31% increase in hours worked compared to 2016" - an increase "largely attributable to four new liquefied natural gas facilities being commissioned simultaneously in 2017."

Despite the extra hours worked, there were encouraging results in a number of key safety indicators, including no fatalities for the fifth consecutive year, with injuries at their lowest levels in over a decade. Nopsema was formed in 2012. But Smith pointed to a second consecutive year of increases in uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases last year, three-quarters of which were gas. Key stats from the report included: 

  • 12.8mn hours worked offshore – a 31% increase from 2016 (9.7 million hours).

  • 291 dangerous occurrences (including false alarms) – lowest number in a decade.

  • 52 injuries – lowest number since the formation of Nopsema's forerunner NOPSA in 2005.

  • 4 major injuries – ended 15 consecutive months without a major injury occurring offshore; the four (counted in the total of 52) included lacerations to limbs and broken bones.

  • total injury rate of 4.07 per million hours worked – second lowest injury rate since 2005.

  • 29 uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases in 2017 – second consecutive year of increases; about 75% were gas releases and approximately 15% were liquid releases.

  • 12 environmental reportable incidents – an increase from 8 incidents in 2016.

  • 21 enforcement actions (excluding notices) taken by Nopsema.