Piper Alpha Disaster

Alpha Piper Disaster Introduction The accident, which occurred on board of the seaward platform Piper Alpha in July 1988, took lives of 167 people and cost billions of dollars damage of property. The Piper Alpha is placed in the North Sea, around 193 km northeast of Aberdeen. The field was discovered in January 1973 and the same year construction of platform took place. The depth of it was up to 140 m, and at the time the development and installation of the Piper Alpha platform give tongue to a major step in both the development of the UK offshore resources and technology.

The basic design of the topsides was establish on those used in the Gulf of Mexico. The platform production of oil started in December 1976 when the first two wells were brought on-stream. During its primitive life the Piper Alpha platform proved highly productive, producing up to 360 kilo barrels of oil per day. At the time of the disaster, the oil production had dropped to some 125 kilo barrels of oil per day, with many wells containing a high quantity of produced water. The oil was brought up ashore through a sub-sea line 206 km long to the Island of Flotta in the Orkneys for building onshore terminal.

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The oil production from the Piper Alpha platform contained around 10% of the UK production from the UK area of the North Sea. (1) The disaster was caused by a massive fire, which wasn’t predicted. Most of them have been implemented in the organization, it’s structure and procedures. This research analyzes the scenario of an accident, using a risk analysis that determines how human decisions and actions affect the occurrence of major events, and then identifies the roots of the organizational decisions and actions. The organizational factors are common to other industrial and technical systems.

This include deficiencies in the guidelines for project design and methods such as strenuous physical linkage or insufficient excess, misguided priorities in the management of the exchange between the performance and safety errors in management personnel on board, and errors in judgments that financial pressures are applied on the production sector on the oil companies definition of profit centers resulting deficiencies in inspection and maintenance operations. This analytical approach allows the identification of risk management measures hat go beyond the merely technical for example, add the excess to the security system and, also enable the improvement of management practices. (2) 2. Cause of Accident Two separate permissions to the work were released for the compressed pumps, one for repairing the pump and one in order to verify RV. Work of RV was not finished toward the end changes, also, instead of working overtime in order to finish this, it was decided to finish permission during that day and the following motion. The craft of observer stopped permission and returned them into the control room, without reporting to operational status of state.

During the commodity turnover of change they named status of pump, but no reference there was made from the work of RV, and there was no reference whatever about this in the repair of sending or registrations. By prolonged problems with the commodity turnovers and the correspondence to registration reports was the problem, known to certain. Permission to the work for the pump and RV was not turned to each other, and it is probable that the permissions were given in the separate positions, one in the control room and one in the office of safety.

When the alloyed pump of on-line, is later that been unsuccessful in order to change, creating imperative in order to begin spare part in order to allow prolonged production, the state of control room it only knew about the permission in order to repair pump, and pump continued to return to the repair. Permit work system (PTW) frequently was not carried out according to procedure. For example omissions were disseminated, frequently the operating representatives were not by the investigated work site before the end of the resolution in order to stop changes, or to shut resolution, indicating that the work was finished.

Observers and crafts, frequently left on the table, it solves the control room at the end of change, instead of personally returning to their responsible representative of operational, as it is required by procedure. Although the system was checked by PTW, about the leading operator of safety, about any sign of problem they do not report, and they do not independently govern the operation of system, which is examined. Based on the shortage of information on the contrary, control assumed that they knew that the things approached.

Noted, that the elder maintenance expressed its uneasiness apropos of system PTW at the encounter in the corporate staff earlier in the same year. Furthermore, company said request in the civil processes, which implicate the failure of work, partially because of the system problem PTW however, any independent system improvements, which was PTW it did not conclude there. The fire of pumps set in action diesel was placed into the manual control mode because of the presence of divers in the water around the platform.

This practice was more conservative than the policy of company and report about the revision of fire-prevention protection into 1983 was recommended so that this practice would be stopped. The arrangement of pumps in the management is intended, that the state must reach pumps after explosion. However, conditions avoided, this, and as a result the system, which submerges Piper Alpha, there was not that, if “fire water” it was accessible, its effectiveness was, possibly, limited.

The distribution of conduit, including module in the platform, where the fires were most serious, terribly corrosion, and the irrigation of the sensor of plug it pulverizes heads, there was the known problem, which relates to time 1984. Different difficult situations were made, and project lies in the fact that replace the fire-prevention protection of pipe, it was begun, but work is located behind the graph. Tests in May 1988 showed that the irrigation approximately 50% pulverizes heads in the slavish module, they were included on 2. 1. Design and Process Factor

Among the basic events of the Piper Alpha failure mode, a large number were directly influenced by design decisions that caused couplings and dependencies of three types: (1) Direct linkage of component failures High probability of fire propagation Vulnerability of several components to the same event or load The general plan network of platforms made them physically interdependent, and not providing adequate management integration and for production decisions that affect operations on other platforms and for a coherent and rapid decisions in cases of extreme necessity.

The general location platform it is doubtful for lack of layoffs. The philosophy of the design of extraordinary situation, protection, and security system was generally defective. First, fatal dependences on the failure and the cohesion made automatic closed, anxiety, public address, and other critical assemblies directly depending on of the central ability of the generation of electric power, without sufficient releases in this central source and reliable alternative delivery for each extraordinary system.

Furthermore these reserve copies were independently connected. In the second place, shoot and explode, protection was clearly insufficient, although protection from both it is difficult to reach. Moreover, the design of the systems of fire-prevention protection implied close couplings among the failures of extraordinary systems. Fourthly, the shortage of releases in the production equipment and the safety equipment proved to be important in the beginning of accident.

The fifth, there were the simple cases of scarcities in the design of emergency equipment, which did not work if necessary: reporting chain for the gas leakages, which produced too many false alarms and were relied on the readouts in the control room, which proved to be difficult in the times of crisis because of the poor sitting, showing, and of colored coding; or the equipment, such as the life rafts, which are not used in the standard time and they could not be bulging if necessary. Effects of the Accident

The effects that this accident gave are actually quite is big amount because the fire which burned almost the whole seaward platform. The platform itself is cost around 3 billion US dollars which is huge amount of money for the economy of the country which was just wested from here it can be said that there are so many peoples are effected by this disaster. Next the oil and gas which was produced by this platform they were shifted to the factories and cities to make man life for their daily life to live.

After that the peoples who died in the accident their families are also was effected by losing them in this world most of them were at the age of 35-45 which means that most of are had children who was left behind. On the other hand the oil which was spilled on the sea can have a serious impact on sea living organisms such as shellfish, fish, marine mammals and aquatic plants. The threat posted to sea lives by an oil spill is that of physical smothering. This possible that it will lead to the death of the organisms according to their ability to constant feed, breath and move.

All the organisms which was covered by oil on the sea are at the risk of the death. Improvement and Prevention The Piper Alpha accident, which remains the worst seaward accident up to now, attracted attention to the seaward industry also of regulators to the damage, which could arise in the case of explosion and shoot at the seaward platform and caused many changes, which formed the current seaward regulated and operating medium. 4. 1 Design and Process Disabling of protective equipment by the explosion: Fire walls at Piper Alpha, possibly, stopped the propagation of fire.

They were not, however, built in order to resist explosion. Initial explosion pulled out fire walls with the root, and the subsequent fire was extended free. Proper isolation of plant for the maintenance: Calamity would not occur, if the pump, where the work was done, was positively isolated. Isolation is not achieved, shutting valve, but it requires the means, such as the insert of the plate of oversight or the removal of the section of pipe. Inventory of limit on the installation and in the conduits: The large inventory of the conduits, connected with the platform, fed fire.

In spite of technical problems, this must be the purpose of design to decrease a quantity of hydrocarbons. Extraordinary valves of the closing: The proper position of the extraordinary valves of closing and backup valves is important for turning off of the delivery of fuel in the case of fire; higher than the aqueous arrangement ensures the accessibility of testing for the vigilant maintenance. Fire and the protection of the explosion: Protection from the decrease of fire and explosion just as of fire extinguishing they have special importance so there is no possibility whatever to rely on the external aid, such as firefighting team.

Temporary safe refuge: In Temporary safe refuge on each installation must be the air-permeable atmosphere by means of averting of the entrance of smoke and assignment of fire-prevention protection; emergency exits and points of embarkation must be determined through the cases of safety. Averting the entrance of smoke in Temporary safe refuge is accessible through the smoke and gas sensors, which begin the humidifiers of smoke and prevent the rotation of smoke everywhere on Temporary safe refuge.

Use of wind tunnel tests and of the simulations of explosion in the design: Wind tunnels are useful in order to estimate the effectiveness of ventilation and gas acquisition system. The simulations of explosion help to investigate the effect of different arrangements on the explosion on the pressures and to estimate the effectiveness of the walls of explosion. 4. 2 Human resource Regulated the inspection of the offshore installations: Accident contributed to the causing of offshore of installations of safety of case of regulations.

The case of safety written document, in which the company must demonstrate, that the effective system of the service of safety engineering is located in the place on the special offshore installation. The fulfillment of this should be transmitted. Adherence to permission system to the work: This was the system of the documents, developed in order to contribute to the connection between all sides, touched upon by any rules of maintenance, made on the platform. System on Platform to alpha became too softened. Employees relied on too many unofficial communications, and it was missing the connections between changes in the change.

If system was realized properly, then initial gas leakage never would occur. The quality of the service of safety engineering is important: Cullen’s report about Piper Alpha to alpha was very important with respect to control system in the company. In the managers was the minimum qualifications, which led to the poor methods and the ineffective revisions. Need for the instruction in technology of the safety: Workers on the platform respectively were not trained in the extraordinary measures, and control was not trained to compose space and to ensure a good leadership during the crisis situation. . Conclusion In conclusion Piper Alpha disaster which took place in July 1988 in North Sea killed 167 peoples and cost of damage 3. 4 billon US dollars. The Alpha Piper was one of the biggest oil production platform. It was discovered in January 1973 and constructed the same year and started to produce oil in December 1976 when two, first wells were brought up. During it’s working period it use to produce 360 kilo bars per day and this contained 10% of United Kingdom offshore oil production.

The calamity Piper Alpha forced offshore industry in the entire world to repeatedly evaluate many security aspects, connected with the design and the operation also of the established and mobile off-shore installations. Significant effort and expenditure were carried in the decrease of effects from the explosions and the fires. The large part of the expenditure was carried on the older platforms and the drilling rigs, where it was necessary to carry out a sequential packet of corrective measures in order to decrease the risks for such low as reasonably real.

Examples of corrective measures for the existing platforms, and measures for design for the new installations include, among other, the following. A. Isolation of hydrocarbon inventories. B. Mitigation of explosion effects. Fire protection. Temporary refuge. E. Control of smoke hazard. 6. Reference Babrauskas, V. 1983 Estimating large pool fire burning rates, London. Cullen, L. 1990 The Public Inquiry into the Piper Alpha Disaster, London. J. R. Petrie, 1988, Piper Alpha Technical Investigation interim Report, London England. Patt-Cornell M. E. , 1990, Organizational Aspects of Engineering System Reliability.

Patt-Cornell E. M. & Bea R. G. , 1992, RiskAnalysis, London. Carson W. G. , 1982, The Other Price of Britain Oil, New Brunswick, New Jersey. G. Bea, 1991, Personnal communications, UK. The Institute of Marine Engineers, 1991 Offshore Operations Post Piper Alpha, Conference, London, England. Perrow, 1984 Normal Accidents, New York. Mannan, S. , 2005, 3rd edition, Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann. Kletz, T. , 2001 3rd edition, Gulf Professional Publishing. Cox, R. A. 1989a Investigation of blast resistance of firewalls, Lord Cullen’s Public Inquiry, UK