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GTIR

Original Poster:

23,010 posts

146 months

[news] 
Tuesday 9th July 2013 quote quote all
petop said:
GTIR said:
(Just read the Wiki)
So basically it was a bad/flawed design (Ok for oil not for gas) coupled with human error and lack of procedures topped off with greed and arrogance from the owners, whoever "they" are I'd imagine it's not one person but a collective of spineless managers. frown

I imagine it's all very different now.
you would like to think so.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil...
Unbelievable.

Forgot about that debacle.

HD Adam

2,270 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
GTIR said:
petop said:
GTIR said:
(Just read the Wiki)
So basically it was a bad/flawed design (Ok for oil not for gas) coupled with human error and lack of procedures topped off with greed and arrogance from the owners, whoever "they" are I'd imagine it's not one person but a collective of spineless managers. frown

I imagine it's all very different now.
you would like to think so.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil...
Unbelievable.

Forgot about that debacle.
The technicalities of the Deepwater Horizon blowout are very different to the Piper Alpha but the greed and arrogance part are the same.

I started to watch the documentary and was ok till the part where there was film of inside the rig, then a special effect where the screen went to snow and white noise, like the explosion had happened right there.
I had that "someone walking over your grave" feeling and had to turn it off after that. Very strange.

I worked on the Piper 3 weeks before the accident. I've seen film of the incident 100's of times.
Every time you see it burning, there's people dying in there. I can't watch them get killed again and again anymore.

jshell

5,706 posts

85 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
GTIR said:
jshell said:
Otispunkmeyer said:
The other rig, tartan, was supplying piper alpha with a 120 bar gas line!!!! When that burst it was funnelling 30 tons of gas into the fire per second!!! fking hell!
A gas line of a few miles long can't just be depressurised from 120 to 0 bar in a short time though, so I'm not sure it would have made that much difference. What was different was that in the wake of Piper, it was made mandatory to install seabed located shut-off valves to interfield gas pipelines.
(Just read the Wiki)
So basically it was a bad/flawed design (Ok for oil not for gas) coupled with human error and lack of procedures topped off with greed and arrogance from the owners, whoever "they" are I'd imagine it's not one person but a collective of spineless managers. frown

I imagine it's all very different now.
Things are different. After Piper, when I was a production platform control room operator, I had absolutely no problem, in principle, of hitting the big red safety shutdown button in the corner of the control room, had I felt personally that it was necessary. I'm utterly sure my colleagues were of the same mind. There is a culture now of 'stop the job' if anyone feels things to be unsafe.

Had the oil export to Piper been shutdown that night, it 'may' have prevented the cooking of the gas riser and the final destructive explosion when it failed.

rumple

3,891 posts

31 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
I remember this, prior to this an accommodation platform fell over as well, called the Alexander kieland (I think), Piper Alpha struck a chord because my Dad worked on it in the seventies, he also worked on Claymore.

Rick_1138

1,423 posts

58 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
While doing all my QHSE training and NEBOSH stuff, being based in Aberdeen Piper comes up a lot.

A lot of lessons were learned from PA, the permit to work system came about because of it, communication changes were made a lot more noticeable, OIM's were given a lot more autonomy over safety shutdowns.

This is why I laugh at the deepwater horizon thing and the americans going mental that the 'British' have caused this explosion. It was a BP owned field but the rig and most on it were Halliburton and a couple of smaller US firms based people.

Also a HUGE amount fo practices carried out in the US to this day have been banned in the north sea for some 15 years, its a miracle more don't die daily in US fields.

The Cullen report is an interesting read, and it is good to see that changes were effected, however my fear now is that a lot of these installations are over 30 years old, and they are literally coming apart, but they keep trying to squeeze every last penny out of them with no investment.
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jshell

5,706 posts

85 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
rumple said:
I remember this, prior to this an accommodation platform fell over as well, called the Alexander kieland (I think), Piper Alpha struck a chord because my Dad worked on it in the seventies, he also worked on Claymore.
The AK was a drilling rig, a five-legged design. It was found that there had been a crack in one of the main cross-spars for years so when they hit horrendous weather, one leg fell off.

Jesus!

Silverbullet767

8,195 posts

86 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
Rick_1138 said:
however my fear now is that a lot of these installations are over 30 years old, and they are literally coming apart, but they keep trying to squeeze every last penny out of them with no investment.
I work in upgrades for offshore installations in Aberdeen, the investment on old installations is massive.

ShyTallKnight

1,238 posts

93 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
Rick_1138 said:
the permit to work system came about because of it
Erm not strictly true the PTW system has been in use a long time before the PA incident.

HD Adam

2,270 posts

64 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
ShyTallKnight said:
Rick_1138 said:
the permit to work system came about because of it
Erm not strictly true the PTW system has been in use a long time before the PA incident.
The PA had a PTW system because I used it.

It was the communication issue via the PTW system that caused the initial incident.

Otispunkmeyer

3,946 posts

35 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
GTIR said:
Otispunkmeyer said:
Just reading that occidental top brass wouldn't let the sister rig claymore turn off its oil supply to piper alpha. Only doing so after the second explosion, because it would cost a lot of money for such a shut down. If I was the guy on that rig I wouldn't have listened I don't think.

The other rig, tartan, was supplying piper alpha with a 120 bar gas line!!!! When that burst it was funnelling 30 tons of gas into the fire per second!!! fking hell!

Glad my dad decide to work in the Middle East on das island. Though he did eventually go work for occidental on PS-1.
Hang on.

So the fire was in full swing and the gas was still being pumped "through" Piper Alpha? eek

s.
Claymore fed oil and Tartan fed gas if I read it right. For Claymore they didn't shut the oil off until the second explosion. Up until then they were basically piping oil into the fire. Tartan supplied gas, and in large pipes at 120 bar. Even if they turned the gas off, the gas is still stuck in the pipe at 120 bar. It needs venting to bring the pressure down and that takes time. They could have been venting it off on Tartan I don't know, but when the connector melted on Piper Alpha, it all just came rushing out uncontrollably!!! into a raging fire!

Otispunkmeyer

3,946 posts

35 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
GTIR said:
petop said:
GTIR said:
(Just read the Wiki)
So basically it was a bad/flawed design (Ok for oil not for gas) coupled with human error and lack of procedures topped off with greed and arrogance from the owners, whoever "they" are I'd imagine it's not one person but a collective of spineless managers. frown

I imagine it's all very different now.
you would like to think so.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_oil...
Unbelievable.

Forgot about that debacle.
My dad worked on a rig off the coast of Angola.... Lets just say the less I know about that one the better!

The Black Flash

5,147 posts

78 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
jshell said:
rumple said:
I remember this, prior to this an accommodation platform fell over as well, called the Alexander kieland (I think), Piper Alpha struck a chord because my Dad worked on it in the seventies, he also worked on Claymore.
The AK was a drilling rig, a five-legged design. It was found that there had been a crack in one of the main cross-spars for years so when they hit horrendous weather, one leg fell off.

Jesus!
I remember that being on the news as a kid; seeing it upside down with the bottom of the legs bobbing up and down in the sea was chilling.

Max_Torque

6,887 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
oobster said:
Max_Torque said:
A simple, moving and incredibly powerful documentary. Proof that the BBC can still make decent and sympathetic program content where the subject matter and people involved tell the story without embellishment.

Congratulations to the BBC, and RIP to those not so lucky that fateful night.
Not sure the BBC had much of a hand in making Fire In The Night, but it was an excellent documentary. I was only 15 when it happened, it was very moving to see the men's accounts tonight.
BBC Scotland said:
Piper Alpha: Fire In The Night is an STV Productions film for BBC Scotland
Ok, so it didn't originate with the BBC directly, but it still shows that they can commission thought provoking and mature content if they try!

jshell

5,706 posts

85 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
The Black Flash said:
jshell said:
rumple said:
I remember this, prior to this an accommodation platform fell over as well, called the Alexander kieland (I think), Piper Alpha struck a chord because my Dad worked on it in the seventies, he also worked on Claymore.
The AK was a drilling rig, a five-legged design. It was found that there had been a crack in one of the main cross-spars for years so when they hit horrendous weather, one leg fell off.

Jesus!
I remember that being on the news as a kid; seeing it upside down with the bottom of the legs bobbing up and down in the sea was chilling.
Me too, then I did a case study at Uni and was told that they found paint inside the cross-spar cracks meaning they could have detected the cracks well in advance of the disaster. The rig had been into dry-dock and re-painted without proper inspections being carried out!

Willy Nilly

4,537 posts

47 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
How high was the helipad?

I was thinking about that bloke who was stood on the edge of it today and his only option was to jump off.

GTIR

Original Poster:

23,010 posts

146 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
Willy Nilly said:
How high was the helipad?

I was thinking about that bloke who was stood on the edge of it today and his only option was to jump off.
170ft iirc.

Max_Torque

6,887 posts

97 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
175Ft to mean sea level! That's one heck of a jump.

I thought the inclusion of some of the original radio exchanges helped to set the, frankly horrible, scene. The section where one of the support/rescue vessels realises it has lost contact with the small RIB that had been picking up survivors is particularly poignant. frown

hyperblue

2,341 posts

60 months

[news] 
Wednesday 10th July 2013 quote quote all
Max_Torque said:
175Ft to mean sea level! That's one heck of a jump.
Roughly the same as jumping off a 15-17 floor building frown

Mr_B

5,706 posts

123 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th July 2013 quote quote all
Very interesting TV and unusual for a disaster around that time to have so much film of it. There was a photo in the programme which showed a small boat right under the rig while the fire had taken hold and it rather poignantly emphasized what a couple of the men said about the intense heat and it being as if they were under a grill.

Pete102

527 posts

66 months

[news] 
Thursday 11th July 2013 quote quote all
If anyone is interested in further reading theres a book available by the same name - 'Fire in the night'. Its a gripping, if harrowing, read and obviously goes into much more detail and first hand accounts of the accident.

I work/worked in a Functional Safety role within oil and gas industry both onshore and offshore and like most others on this thread I find the PA disaster difficult to digest each time I look at it. As some of you have already mentioned PA did have a PTW system in place, unfortunately it was not robust enough to prevent the start of the chain of events that eventually resulted in such loss of life.

For those of you that may be of the opinion something like this couldn't happen again. Dont be. The risk of an incident of this magnitude happening again is ever present. There have been several notable accidents I can draw to your attention:

Buncefield Oil Depot Fire - Largest explosion in the UK since World War 2. 20 large hydrocarbon storage tanks destroyed, wide spread damage, luckily no fatalities.

The cause? - multiple reasons including:

Poor maintenance of High Level Safety Switches
Poor transmission of safety critical product bulletins from manufacturers
LIMITED ABILITY FOR THE BUNCEFIELD DEPOT TO STOP INCOMING SUPPLIES FROM UK REFINERIES (ring a bell with PA anyone?)
poor tank monitoring systems (the operators used a manual timer to infer tank capacity)
insufficient bund integrity (holes in the concrete wall)

The list goes on, and there are a few others I have not listed here.



Texas City Refinery Explosion - Large explosion as a distillation column is brought back online following a maintenance outage. Unfortunately several dead following ignition of the vapour cloud from an idling diesel truck in the vicinity.

The cause? - multiple reasons again:

- Failure of the column level gauging system resulting in an overfill of materials into an atmospheric vent header system, subsequent geysering of material from the vent resulting in the formation of a flammable vapour cloud.
- Poor handover during shift operations
- Inoperative Alarms
- Poor Procedures
- Poor Management of Change (MoC) allowing contractor cabins to be sited too close to the hazardous area! (many of the perished workers were inside these cabins)



Other notable incidents include Flixbrough, Hickson and Welsh, Deepwater and Fukushima (although this may be attributed to natural causes, there were failings in plant design, such as geographically siting of redundant back up generators next to each other.

Anyway I guess the point I'm trying to get at is the risk is always there and unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a step change in industry until we experience a Major Accident Hazard.

Final sobering image:



This was the aftermath of an incident in 2006 on the Rough 47/3B platform where I used to work. Coming back online following a maintenance outage the plant experienced a material failure resulting in a hydrocarbon gas release of several tonnes per second. The release was of such magnitude the atmosphere within the confines of the deck space quickly exceeded the Upper Explosive Limit (meaning there was not enough oxygen to combust). It wasnt until the gas cloud permeated over the side of the platform it was then sucked back into the power generation turbines and mixed with oxygen that it exploded.

Luckily nobody died, although there were several injuries, mostly burns.

This one is particularly interesting as it is likely material xray inspection would not of picked it up. The material failure was found to be the result of a previous unknown corrosive interaction between two metals over the course of several (+15) years.
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