ANP, the Brazilian oil and gas regulator, has blamed Petrobras and BW Offshore for an explosion at the FPSO Cidade de São Mateus on 11 February 2015.
As a result of the incident, nine workers were killed and twenty six were injured.
On December 17, ANP issued a report on the incident. The report outlines that a lax operation management system and failure to comply with risk mitigation standards played a key role in the resulting explosion.
Several flaws were mentioned by the report, including inadequate condensate storage, a degraded loading system, ill-prepared crew members, mishandled operations, use of improper equipment in explosive atmospheres and poor risk management.
One year before the explosion, maintenance procedures on a condensate valve resulted in the installation of an out-of-standard replacement part, resulting in condensate leaking through the valve. The resulting leakage paved the way to the blast.
“Evidences were found that Petrobras, Prosafe and BW Offshore mismanaged the operation of the FPSO throughout its lifecycle, opening the door to risks which could not be properly managed, therefore, favoring the occurence of the explosion”, the report by ANP says.
Inspection teams at the FPSO site damaged by the explosion. Image credit: G1 News Service
Ill-prepared crew members and no formal emergency preparedness procedures in place potentially contributed to the incident. After the explosion, staff members were assigned to roles not directly linked with risk management.
Emergency response procedures were deeply compromised by the slow response of the rescue teams. No helicopters were immediately available and the headcount list, required in situations of abandoning a vessel, was not updated at the time of the incident.
ANP has opened an administrative procedure which may end up in million-dollar fines being imposed on Petrobras and BW Offshore.
A structural section of the FPSO, damaged by the blast, as shown by ANP report. Image credit: G1 News Service
On December 16, the Brazilian Federal Police indicted four non-Brazilian BW Offshore officials with criminal charges related to the incident, on the grounds that evidence of criminal procedures were found after thorough investigations.
The Federal Police investigations cleared Petrobras of any reponsibility on the incident.
“The Offshore Installation Manager was fully responsible for the safe operation of the FPSO and should have taken the necessary action to avoid the incident”, officials of the Federal Police commented.
FPSO Cidade de São Mateus was operated by BW Offshore for Petrobras, off the coast of the state of Espírito Santo at the time of the incident.
The origin of this post is available here.