Abstract The explosion accident that occurred on board the offshore platform Piper Alpha in July 1988, it killed 165 people and cost billions of dollars in property damage. It was caused by a massive fire, which was not the result of an unpredictable accident but caused by accumulation of errors and questionable decisions. The destruction of the platform by an explosion and the subsequent massive oil and gas fire showed that the potential hazards of the offshore industry were greater than had been generally believed by the public and perhaps by the industry itself. Content Title Page 1.
Introduction 1 2. Management Operation2 2. 1 The management and the structure 2. 2 The objective of the management 3. Industrial Process3 4. Cause of accident 4 4. 1 Human factor 4. 2 Design and Process Factor 4. 3 Roots factor 5. The effect of the piper alpha disaster 6 5. 1 Health 5. 2 Environment and ecology 5. 3 Damage/Environment/Health/Compensation cost 6. Improvement and Prevention 7 6. 1 Design and Process 6. 2 Human resource 6. 3 Safety and health 7. Conclusion9 8. Reference 10 1.
Introduction Piper Alpha was a North Sea oil production platform operated by Occidental Petroleum (Caledonia) Ltd. The platform began the oil production in 1976, first oil platform in the world and then later converted to gas production. The piper alpha platform was ran by day shift and night shift worker. Both of the shift was operate the whole platform to continue supply the oil and gas. The platform have several essential personnel, which is OIM (offshore installation manager), (OTL)operations team leader,(OOE) offshore operation engineer,(BCO)ballast control operator (CRO)control room operators .
The plant operation of the alpha platform is receive the oil and gases from the other platform, send the gases to the another platform for compressed . The cause of piper alpha platform on fire was due to the gas leak out with high pressure from the maintenance pipe, ignited and explode . The first explosion cause another two big explosion and kill most of the worker, which has 165 worker. The rest survivor jump into the seabed to avoid themselves involve in explosion. In the end, the total lost is up to 3. 4 billion is lost for the insurance.
So, the purpose that I write the report is we can learn and improve the mistake that cause the piper alpha disaster. 1 2. Management and Operation 2. 1 The management and structure There have few personnel playing their important role in the platform to ensure the platform can function normally. First is OIM (offshore installation manager), which have ultimate authority during his/her shift and makes the essential decisions regarding the operation of the platform, handle procedures required to manage emergencies that may be encountered on platform and drill rig.
Second is OTL (operations team leader), which supervise team operation on a day-to-day basis. She/he able to manage two or more sub-teams to execute the annual work plan, ensure persistent team momentum on various application in scope. Third is the OOE(offshore operation engineer), the person in charge integrate and coordinate the planning and execution of shutdown activities in collaboration with Production Planning, Maintenance, Logistics and Procurement to ensure resource optimization and minimize shutdown duration. At the same time, manage a workforce to focus on core activities and ensure hey react quickly to any unscheduled shutdown and rectify the problem. Next is (CRO)control room operator, which responsible on a daily basis for keeping the rig afloat, also be involved with anchor running and retrieving operations during rig move plus a whole load of paperwork besides, work permits etc. And the last is (BCO)ballast control operator. They play the important role on the platform, ballast and de-ballast the rig as required to maintain station, monitor all ballast controls and related instrumentation, monitor variable deck load on a daily basis to calculate and maintain the rig’s stability.
Also carry out preventive maintenance on ballast control equipment and other marine equipment, assist in supervising the deck crew during routine and non-routine marine operation. 2. 2 The objective of the management 2. 2. 1 Getting result with minimum efforts. Secure maximum output with minimum efforts and resources is the main objective of management. Management is basically concerned with thinking and utilizing human, material and financial resource in such a manner that would result in best combination. This combination result in reduction of various costs. 2. 2. Increasing the efficiency of factor of production Through proper utilization of various factor of production, their efficiency can be increased to a great extent which can be obtained by reducing spoilage, wastage and breakage of all kinds, this in turn leads to saving of time, effort and money which is essential for growth and prosperity of the enterprise. 2 3. Industrial Process The offshore platform piper alpha, which was located in was located in the British sector of the North Sea oil field and operated by Occidental Petroleum. The oil production was about 125,000 barrels per day.
The Claymore field was discovered approximately one year after the Piper Field and operated under Licence Block 14/19. The Claymore platform was developed and the field came on-stream about November 1977. Oil produced by this field was also exported to the Flotta facility by means of a short pipeline which linked into the pipeline from Piper Alpha to the Flotta Terminal. The discovery of the Tartan Field post-dated the discovery of the Claymore field. A platform was built which was owned and operated by Texaco North Sea Limited and this came on-stream about 1979.
In year 1980 the Piper Field the Frigg gas field was discovered. A gas recovery module was installed so the platform piper alpha can receive and process the gas from other platform. The operation of the piper alpha platform is receive the oil and gas from the Tartan and Claymore platform, and send the gases to platform MCP0 1(Manifold Compression Platform number 1 ) for gas compress.  3 4. Cause of accident 4. 1 Human Factor 4. 1. 1 Careless The maintenance process was doing on the condensate pumps A and pumps B was bring to the service for platform supply.
Among this maintenance task, remove the pump’s relieve valve for test and calibration was one of the task. The engineer remove the relief valve and replace by two blind flanges on the pump casting. The flanges were not bolted down tightly.  4. 1. 2 Bad Communication During the course of the day the maintenance activities were changed, and one of the jobs was closed out. The engineer wrote a permit that the pump A is under maintenance but didn’t mention that safety valve is removed and leave permits on the control room desk without discussion as to the state of the work with process staff . . 1. 3 Lacked the initiative to take unilateral action The Tartan and Claymore platforms continued supply oil and gas to Piper platform in fact they could see the Piper platform was on fire. The reason they said they keep supply oil and gas to piper platform because the communication has been destroyed in the explosion and they claim “nobody told us to stop” . 4. 2 Design and Process Factor 4. 2. 1 Wrong prevention design factor The Piper platform was originally built as oil platform at 1976. The original platform had fire walls only.
After two year, the platform is converted to handle both oil and gas. With the addition of gas and condensate system, the platform should have install blast walls protection, but they didn’t. Hence the initial explosion was not contained. 4. 2. 2 Emergency Shutdown Valves The Piper platform just have only one emergency shutdown valve, and just the control room operator able to switch it on. Since the control room was destroyed in initial explosion, there is no worker are able to switch on the emergency shutdown valve. 4 4. 2. Wrong location of gas transfer pipe route The location of pipe route is just beside the control room, furthermore the gas pipe did not have blast wall protection, hence the first initial explosion straight destroy control room. 4. 3 Roots Factor The roots factor that cause the explosion of the piper alpha platform is start from the maintenance engineer. The pump A was under maintenance, the safety valve was removed for routine maintenance and replaced by blind flanges. The engineer also wrote a permit that mention pump A was under maintenance.
The engineer just left the permit on the control centre and leave. The whole platform power supply was run by the pump B, which was the gases to be transfer to the combustion generator. The pump B was tripped and could not restart anymore. The whole platform will shut down if no gases supply to the combustion generator. The manager have to decide that either pump A have to activated or not. They found the engineer permit slip but the slip just mention the pump A was under maintenance only, remove of the safety valve of pump A did not wrote on the permit slip.
Hence, the manager decide brought the pump A back into service before the whole platform shut down. In the end, the pump A brought into service, the blind flanges cannot afford the pressure and the gas leak out from it. Hence the explosion occur on the platform piper alpha. 5 5. The effect of the piper alpha disaster 5. 1 Health 59 worker of 240 is successful survive from the piper alpha disaster by jump into the sea. Survivors who jumped from the platform were significantly more likely to have burns, as were those who spent longer periods in the water.
Survivors who sustained fractures had significantly higher post-traumatic symptom after they saw their colleague was burned alive or killed in the explosion. No other statistically significant association was found between the nature and/or extent of physical injury and the prevalence or severity of PTSD(Post-traumatic Stress Disorder) . 5. 2 Environment and ecology 5. 5 tonnes of cooling fluid, polychlorinated bithenyl (PCB), contained in equipment called transformers was destroyed during the fire.
PCBs are extremely toxic, persistent and harmful chemicals which, if they entered the water or food chain, might have widespread and long-lasting effects. Fish caught in the Bressay and Fladen fishing grounds near Piper Alpha were found to be contaminated with the chemical. The carbon monoxide that produced from the explosion also cause the air pollution. 5. 3 Damage cost/Environment cost/Health cost /Compensation cost In the end of the explosion, 165 worker killed, 3. 4 billion is lost for the insurance. The explosion also cause the toxic element, PBC leak into the sea which will effect the environment and ecology.
The carbon monoxide harmful to the platform surround ecology. 6 6. Improvement and Prevention 6. 1 Design and Process 6. 1. 1 Safety and prevention design factor The platform should built blast walls replace the fire wall to contain the initial explosion if the accident occur. The accident was instrumental in bringing about the Offshore Installations (Safety Case) Regulations. A safety case is a written document which a company must show the efficiency of safety management system (SMS) is in place on a particular offshore installation.
The location of control room should be built from far away from fuel or gas route pipe and can observe all activity on the platform. In case the accident occur the manager should able to switch on the emergency shutdown valve. The backup emergency shutdown valve should installed adequate so the other worker also can able to switch on emergency shutdown valve while the manager unable to do so . 6. 2 Human resource 6. 2. 1 High requirement vacancy position The human resource should hire the experience engineer to proceed the maintenance job.
The engineer should have self discipline, good communication with people and able to react with time. The job requirement for OIM also have to enhance, in case any incident happen, the OIM should able stay calm and handle the situation and lead the team to the safety zone. 6. 2. 2 Training for worker The workers on the platform have to adequately trained in emergency procedures, and management had to trained to make up the gap and provide good leadership during a crisis situation. 6. 3 Safety and health 6. 3. 1 Emergency evacuation The worker on the platform have to trained for evacuation and escape.
More than one escape route to helicopters and lifeboats must exist to ensure evacuation of the platform in a crisis situation. Luminescent strips and heat shielding can provide visibility in smoke and protection from flames and hazardous situation. Another escapes way such as ropes, ladders, and nets are also available as backup for the more sophisticated escape methods . 7 6. 3. 2 Temporary Safe Refuge (TSR) The location of the temporary safe refuse is built on specially designated area on board every offshore oil and gas production platform.
Each of the TSR have a breathable atmosphere to prevent the smoke ingress and provision of fire protection. The TSR also have to equipped communication device, monitoring, mustering and medical facilities. The TSR also have escape routes and embarkation points should be determined through safety cases. 8 7. Conclusion That have few reason that cause piper alpha disaster, that is the careless and undisciplined engineer, improper fire fight system and wrong location of control room. This explosion cause 165 worker life, 3. billion for insurance and the harmful chemical affect the marine ecosystem. To avoid same situation happen again, some improvement have to do. The human resource must hire experience and discipline worker, install proper fire fight system such as backup emergency switch off button, and location of the control room. 9 Reference: . Bechtel Corporation, “Piper Production Platform, Project Profile,’’and “Piper Gas Conservation, Project Profile” (Bechtel Corporation, San Francisco, California). . Crew of the platform <http://www. naijahotjobs. om/engineering-oil-gas-jobs/75674-vacancies-multinational-oilfield-service-provider. html> . Operation function <http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Piper_Alpha#Piper_oil_field> . The Hon. Lord Cullen, The Public Inquiery into the Piper Alpha Disaster, Vols. 1 and 2 (Report to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Energy by Command of Her Majesty, November 1990). . Alexander, D. A. (1993) The Piper Alpha oil rig disaster. In International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes (eds J. P. Wilson & B. Raphael), pp. 461 -470. New York: Plenum Press. .
APPENDIX TO THE OPINIONS OF THE JUDGES in RECLAIMING MOTIONS in the causes CALEDONIA NORTH SEA LIMITED Pursuers and Reclaimers; from opinion of lord caplan(pp 28) . Lees’ Loss Prevention in the Process Industries: Hazard Identification, Assessment and Control, ed. Mannan, S. , 3rd edition, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, 2005. . Kletz T. Learning from Accidents 2001 3rd_edition (pp 196-206) . Risks factor- human error <http://www. smd. qmul. ac. uk/risk/yearone/casestudies/piper-alpha. html> . Effect on environment and ecology <http://www. allbusiness. com/government/government-bodies-offices/13725978-1. html> 10