Saturday 2 March 2013

North Sea oil rig partially evacuated following leak.

The Cormorant Alpha oil rig, 161 km northeast of Lerwick, Shetland, was partially evacuated on Saturday 2 March 2012, following the discovery of a leak of hydrocarbons (oil) from one of its legs. 71 non-essential staff were airlifted off the rig, and the leak, which was discovered during maintenance work, has now reportedly been contained, according to operators Abu Dhabi owned TAQA Bratani. This is the second incident on the Cormorant Alpha Platform this year; 92 workers were evacuated from the rig following an incident in January, when production was temporarily halted.

The Cormorant Alpha Platform. Oil City.

This is not a major incident, but is potentially highly disruptive, since the Cormorant Alpha Platform forms part of the Brent Pipeline, handling oil from other platforms in the Cormorant Oilfield. The Brent Pipeline carries oil from twenty oil fields, totaling 8% of the total UK output.

The platforms of the Cormorant Oilfield. Total Oil.

A spokesman for the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union, which represents workers on rigs in the North Sea, warned that such incidents were becoming increasingly common due to the age of the platforms (Cormorant Alpha was built in 1978). WWF Scotland have called for more inspections on aging rigs in the area.

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