Piper Alpha Disaster

2927 Words Nov 24th, 2011 12 Pages
Abstract

Piper Alpha was operated by Occidental Petroleum. The platform began its production in 1976, first as an oil production and then later converted to oil and gas production. In the night of July 6th 1988, the platform was engulfed in a catastrophic fire, which caused the death of 167 men and cost billions of dollars in property damage. There are only 61 survivors who saved their lives by jump off the platform in to the sea. At the time of the disaster, the Piper Alpha disaster was the worst offshore disaster in terms of live lost and industry impact. There are two main factors that lead to the disaster, which are human factor and the design and process factor. Lord Cullen has made some recommendations on improvements and
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After few hours, the night shift workers took over from the morning shift workers, the primary condensate pump failed. None of the night shift workers were aware that a crucial part of the pump had been removed and decided to start the backup pump. Gas escaped from the hole left by the valve which was not closed tightly.

Gas audibly leaked out at high pressure, ignited and exploded and produces a catastrophic fire which blown through the fire walls. The fire from the explosion had destroyed some of the oil lines and soon larger quantities of stored oil were burning out of control. An automatic system, which has been designed to spray water on such fire, had been turned off. Moreover, the accommodations were design in such a way that not smoke-proofed.

Some of the workers realized that the only way to survive would be by jumping in to the sea and hoping to be rescued by boat. Only 61 men were survived, but most of them died due to suffocated carbon monoxide and fumes in the accommodations area on the Piper Alpha platform.

2.4 The purpose of this report

The purpose of the report is to examine the objectives and structures of the management of Piper Alpha platform for the oil and gas production industry in the North Sea, United Kingdom. Other than to examine the objectives and structures of the management of Piper Alpha, this report also is written to examine the causes of the explosion and the
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