Kevin Minson

Kevin Minson


    Safety case set up for North Rankin-A gas production platform

    6/07/1996 12:00 AM



    Mines Minister Kevin Minson said today the first safety case to be adopted for an established offshore petroleum production facility in Australia had been established for the North Rankin-A gas production platform on the North West Shelf.


    Mr Minson said Woodside Offshore Petroleum produced the safety case after more than three years of development and extensive liaison with the Western Australian Department of Minerals and Energy.


    "Safety cases for newly-developed facilities on the North West Shelf such as Goodwyn-A, Griffin, Wandoo-A and Wanaea-Cossack are already in place," he said.


    "However, applying a new regime to existing facilities such as North Rankin-A has been a far more complex and costly exercise, involving tens of thousands of work hours and costing millions of dollars to implement.


    "The North Rankin-A platform has been in production since 1984 and is one of the world's largest capacity gas production platforms.


    "It remains WA's major single source of natural gas."


    The Minister said the introduction of the safety case regime was Australia's response to the findings of the United Kingdom public inquiry, headed by Lord Cullen, into the 1988 Piper Alpha platform disaster in the North Sea.


    The Cullen inquiry recommended that operators of offshore installations be required to carry out formal safety assessments of major hazards. The purpose was to identify potential major hazards and risks to personnel and put appropriate controls in place.


    Following a thorough review of the platform's existing safety management system, a reassessment of potential hazards and redrafting of safety procedures for all operational activities, the North Rankin-A safety case was put in place.


    "The North Rankin-A safety case is a significant achievement, given the challenges it presented and both Woodside and the DOME petroleum operations division gained a huge amount of knowledge and experience during the process," Mr Minson said.


    "The whole WA offshore petroleum industry will benefit from this experience.


    "There are up to 1,500 people working on offshore petroleum facilities in WA at any given time in an industry which generates more than $3.7 billion annually and a significant amount of export income to the State.


    "The safety of those people is paramount, not only for those involved and their families but the industry as well."


    DOME is currently working with petroleum companies on the development of another 17 safety cases and six bridging document in WA.


    These cover oil and gas production platforms, drilling rigs and floating production, storage and off-loading vessels in WA and Commonwealth waters.


    Media contact: Caroline Lacy (09) 222 9211, John Terrell, DOME, (09) 222 3572 or Graeme Atherton, Woodside Offshore Petroleum (09) 224 4111