Abstract

In the oil and gas industry several major accidents caused an impact that resulted in new legislation for improvement of safety. These are Piper Alpha, BP Texas refinery, Buncefield terminal, BP Macondo. Piper Alpha resulted in the extensive Safety Case regulations as implemented in the North Sea countries with offshore oil & gas activities (Norway, UK, The Netherlands). The Macondo accident led to the European Directive that is in fact a further development of the Safety Case regulations. BP Texas refinery showed the vulnerability of construction workers on site. The accident introduced more stringent codes and standards for safety distances and regulations requiring approval for siting of temporary accommodation on site. The accident also revealed the requirement for additional performance indicators for process safety as these were only developed for occupational safety. The Buncefield fire confirmed the requirement for more structured management (with KPI's) of process safety in the complete life cycle of the plant. In addition the accident showed that explosion effects can be much more severe than was assumed for a normal oil terminal. This paper evaluates the impact of these accidents and indicated by examples how this has influenced the legislation and regulation. After the latest major accident, the BP Macondo Deepwater Horizon accident, the European Parliament and Council approved in June 2013 a new EU Directive on safety of offshore oil and gas operations. The EU countries have 2 years' time to transpose this Directive into national legislation. The impact on the oil and gas industry will be different dependent on the country in which the operations take place. The Directive introduces the requirement of major hazards reports and emergency response plans, not only for accidents with safety but also with environmental impact. Matters such as competence of authorities, licensing, third party independent verifications, and liability are addressed. This paper evaluates the potential impact of the Directive and indicates possible actions oil & gas companies can take to anticipate on these impacts.

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