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The incidents - Power Distribution Failure - 29th May 2000

Emergency response

The power failure to the North Side resulted in a controlled emergency shutdown of the Oil Refinery and other facilities on the North Side. This included the power station (although some of the boilers were maintained on line), the North Side utilities, chemical plants and the product distribution centre. Diesel equipment provided back-up electrical supplies in many areas in order to ensure that power for essential users was maintained.

Initially Kinneil (FPS) operations and the South Side chemical operations (including the G4 Ethylene Cracker) remained operational.

Eventually however cooling water and feedstocks (naphtha) could not be provided from the North Side and the flare steam integrity could not be fully maintained. This resulted in a controlled shutdown of G4 and the Kinneil operations. There was also some concern in the operation of other critical areas such as the LPG spheres and the flare drums.

The disruption to the electrical supplies resulted in significant smoky flaring from the North Side and black emissions from the power station for a period of time.

No injuries to personnel and no significant damage to plant or equipment resulted from the power loss. The on-site Incident Management Team (IMT) were mobilised and took charge of the immediate response within 10 minutes of the power failure. The Major Incident Control Committee (MICC) was also initiated in response to the power failure.

There were some minor leaks that were managed and controlled but no environmental excursions and there was little off-site impact as a result of the power distribution failure.

Provision of safety assurance for the Complex restart was provided by putting in place the following:

Prior to re-establishment of any power circuits and restart of plants, appropriate risk assessments were requested by the investigation team and completed by the various operating teams.

No.5 feeder was repaired and the operation of the Oil Refinery and the electric load carefully managed whilst on two feeder operation only.

The process followed for the restart of the Complex was closely monitored by the HSE and the power was restored to all plants on the Complex by 2nd June.

Competent Authority investigation

Although the incident caused no injuries or significant damage to equipment or plants the scale was such that it was notified to the HSE and SEPA.

As a result the HSE set up an investigation team within 24 hours to investigate the causes of the incident. BP independently carried out an investigation following their major incident investigation guidelines and cooperated fully with the HSE investigation. The BP investigation made a number of key proposals for corrective actions as a result of the incident investigation

The HSE Inspectors interviewed a range of personnel from BP, the groundwork contractor, the excavation contractor, the electrical and instrumentation contractor, and the cable-laying contractor in the course of their investigations and examined a wide range of project related documentation including risk assessments, method statements, drawings, permits-to-work and maintenance records.