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Launch of report KP3 by the Offshore Division of HSE’s Hazardous Installations Directorate

Judith Hackitt CBE, HSC Chair, 21 November 2007 in Aberdeen

Good morning and welcome.

Today we are publishing a major report at the end of a three year investigation and inspection of nearly 100 offshore installations, focused on asset integrity.

The UK’s offshore industry faces considerable challenge as the infrastructure ages, the cost of recovery increases and high oil prices extend the foreseeable economic life of the UK Continental Shelf.

From the 1990s, when the future of North Sea oil and gas production looked very different, there is a legacy of underinvestment in the infrastructure which poses real concerns for safe running of offshore installations and of course also for security of supply.

Recognising the importance of addressing the projected extended production life of offshore installations, HSE’s Offshore Division ran its first major programme between 2000 and 2004 aimed at reducing hydrocarbon releases and focusing on the integrity of process plant. This was followed by a second programme of work focused on deck operations and drilling.

During this time of KP1 however, OSD became increasingly concerned about the general decline in the condition of the fabric and plant on installations which led to the 3 year intensive programme of work focused on asset integrity which we are publishing today.

The report is a mixed story of good and bad news. We were very encouraged by some of the good practices we found but also disappointed that the industry does not do better in sharing that good practice.

Important maintenance work is often seen as the poor relation of new construction and increased production projects, but maintaining the basic integrity of the asset is vital for both safety and ongoing production.

Today we are calling upon the UK Offshore Industry to learn the vital lessons from this report. The industry itself must show leadership in addressing this important issue by taking ownership of the challenges, setting the agenda, sharing good practice and ensuring that the necessary resources – people, processes and materials – are in place to ensure asset integrity.

During the 3 years of intensive activity HSE has provided ongoing feedback to the industry – there have been 2 interim workshops and where we have found serious non-compliances – identified by red lights in the traffic light system used in the report – we have taken ongoing enforcement action at the time the problem was identified.

We have recently met with very senior managers from the industry and with Oil and Gas UK and their response to our report has been very constructive. We are confident that they will react to the important messages in this report and respond appropriately.  Nonetheless we have also made it very clear to industry that we will not hesitate to take follow-up enforcement action if we do not see the level of activity and leadership that we expect. That is our role and responsibility – to ensure safety and security of production.

Thank you for taking the time to attend this meeting today and showing interest in this important report. Ian and I are now happy to take questions either in general session or one to one discussion later.

Updated 2010-01-13