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    Total Faces Flak at Culzean Development


A contractor, accused of illegal 'NRB' practices, has said it will investigate.

by: Mark Smedley

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Corporate, Litigation, Exploration & Production, News By Country, United Kingdom

Total Faces Flak at Culzean Development

Already facing more strikes at existing UK platforms, Total suffered fresh flak this week after allegations of illegal practice against its contractor on the Culzean gas development.

Labour union Unite demanded August 16 a full investigation by Culzean contractor Bilfinger Salamis after a number of workers contacted Unite to report that Bilfinger supervisors said a list had been drawn up and a number of staff would 'Not be Required Back' (NRB). It is illegal in the UK to bar workers without formal disciplinary notice being issued to them along with the chance to defend themselves.

Unite said it is concerned that the comments may relate to ongoing discussions Culzean workers have been having amongst themselves about registering a local union claim for bonuses and other benefits similar to the recent bonus and benefits dispute involving Unite members working for Aker Solutions on the Statoil Mariner oil platform. It also said there might be health and safety concerns. Unite said offshore workers had reported the alleged comments were creating "an oppressive working environment."  

The $4.5bn Culzean field development, previously operated by Maersk and now by Total, is expected to produce enough to meet 5% of total UK gas demand at peak production in 2020/21.

A spokesperson for Bilfinger told NGW August 17: "Bilfinger takes these reports seriously and has been in contact with Unite to understand these allegations. The company is currently undertaking an internal investigation into these claims. Bilfinger follows Oil & Gas UK guidelines and does not operate a ‘Not Required Back’ list.”

The company said it has several reporting lines available to personnel, including an anonymous hotline, should they have any concerns, and employees should raise any queries without fear of repercussion.

NRB practices were rampant and notorious in the UK North Sea in the 1970s and 1980s and are now widely recognised – by unions and employers alike – to have contributed to a poor safety culture.  (Banner photo illustrates how Culzean will look when complete, courtesy of KBR)