Oil firm fined £1.2m for ‘catastrophic’ methane release

Marathon Oil UK has been fined £1.16m after corroded gas pipework ruptured four years ago, causing severe damage to its Brae Alpha offshore platform.

On Boxing Day 2015, a 20cm diameter high-pressure pipe ripped open due to corrosion. It had been caused by water absorbed or collected in the insulation covering it, a well-known mode of failure. Two tonnes of methane escaped in an instant, presenting a serious risk of injury or death, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Fortunately, most of the 100 personnel were gathered to eat in the accommodation block at the time, away from the blast.

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