Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Workers taken off oil rig amid leak

Seventy workers have been taken off an oil platform after a leak was discovered

More than 70 workers have been taken off a North Sea oil platform after a leak was detected.

The Cormorant Alpha platform and its pipeline infrastructure were also shut down as a precaution following the discovery of the leak at 9.40am on Saturday.

Seventy-one of the 145 staff members on board were removed from the rig, operator TAQA Bratani said.

The leak, discovered in one of the rig's legs during maintenance work, has now been contained, a company spokesman confirmed. All members of staff are said to be safe and well.

The spokesman said "non-essential" workers were taken off the platform on standard scheduled flights. He said: "TAQA Bratani can confirm that a hydrocarbon release detected in one of the Cormorant Alpha platform legs has now been contained, with no further hydrocarbon release. The downman of 71 non-essential personnel has been completed via the crew change flights. Everyone is safe and well."

The installation, owned and operated by TAQA Bratani Ltd, is situated 232 miles (373km) from Peterhead and 94 miles (151km) from Lerwick on Shetland.

The company said its priority is the safety and well-being of the people on board the facility.

The incident marks the second time this year that the platform had to be partially evacuated following the discovery of a leak. In January, the pipeline system was stopped and 92 workers were airlifted from the Cormorant Alpha rig after a similar leak was found in a platform leg.

Environmentalists voiced concerns following the latest incident. WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "While it's a relief to hear staff are safe and the leak has been contained, serious questions must be asked about the integrity of this ageing rig.

"In the interests of the environment and all oil workers it would be wise for the relevant authorities to take a much closer look at this platform, and those of a similar age dotted throughout the North Sea."

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