Offshore Petroleum Facility Integrity in Australia and the United Kingdom: A Comparative Study of Two Countries Utilising the Safety Case Regime

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Abstract

Offshore petroleum activities are undertaken in some of the most hostile environments on earth. The facilities involved have to withstand not only the extremes of weather, tide and current, but also the temperatures and pressures of the volatile substances that they produce - oil and gas. Those same facilities must also provide living accommodation for the workforce in a relatively restricted space. Together these factors create a potentially harsh and unforgiving working environment.

The regulation of health and safety on offshore installations may be said to involve two interrelated aspects. The first is the immediate health and safety of the workers and does not differ in essence from the situation of workers in any onshore industry (this aspect is sometimes referred to as 'trips and slips'). The second aspect is the integrity of the offshore petroleum facility in relation to the prevention of what are known as catastrophic facility integrity failures (CFIFs) and their mitigation in the event that one occurs. CFIFs are low-probability but high-consequence events that include well blowouts, hydrocarbon leaks (ignited or non-ignited), fires and/or explosions, collisions and leaking subsea equipment. This paper focuses on the second aspect, and in particular on the Safety Case Regime (SCR) as a regulatory tool to prevent or mitigate CFIFs in Australia and the UK.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalOil, Gas & Energy Law Intelligence
Volume9
Issue number6
Early online date18 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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