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An inspection last year at Woodside’s Vincent FPSO on the North West Shelf uncovered a potentially dangerous failure of safety critical equipment, according to the recently released  National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) report.

NOPSEMA is Australia’s independent regulator for offshore petroleum health and safety. The authoritative report includes data and information collected by NOPSEMA on injuries and fatalities, incidents, inspections, assessments, investigations and enforcements from offshore petroleum operations in the authority’s jurisdiction to 31 December 2012.

The report found that on 27 April 2012 During a visit to the facility, inspectors from a classification society identified that the oil mist detector unit in the pump room had failed.

The report found that the root causes of this failure were that equipment design did not meet specifications and detectors were incorrectly wired.

NOPSAMA required the operator to conduct a review of fire and gas logic; Introduce restrictions on pump usage, monitoring frequencies, maintenance, worker exposure and alternate detection systems; communicate requirements to all crew and conduct a review of manual activation of the system.

A spokesman for Woodside told The Australian newspaper that the company took the health and safety of its workforce seriously. “The Woodside incidents . . . have been thoroughly investigated and a number of improvements have been identified and implemented. These include further training and clarifying the application of standards and procedures,” the spokesman said.

The report also noted progress in a number of areas of safety, including;

  • The rate of accidents reached the lowest level recorded since 2005
  • The rate of uncontrolled hydrocarbon releases reached a seven year low, reflecting a 41% drop in the number of unplanned petroleum liquid and gas releases in 2012.

The full report can be found here.

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