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Eni UK served notice for defective valves on Douglas Complex

The UK arm of an Italian oil and gas company has been handed an improvement notice after the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a significant number of safety critical firewater ring main isolation valves on connecting platforms were seized open.


The HSE investigation found 20 of the 33 safety critical isolation valves on the DA and DD platforms’ firewater ring main on Eni UK’s Douglas Complex in the Irish Sea were defective. The UK arm had already identified the issue before it received the notice and has been criticised for not fixing the valves during a previous shutdown period. 

The HSE notice, which was served on 30 August, noted that Eni UK had failed to ensure that the Douglas firewater ring main isolation valves were “maintained in an efficient state, in efficient working order and in good repair”.

The HSE inspector said: “I found you have known about this degraded situation since February 2014 but have not resolved it during any planned shutdown period because of the impact on other activities.” 

The inspector told Eni UK that if one of the platforms had been damaged by fire and explosion, the oil and gas company would be unable to isolate sections of the fire main on the DD platform.  

Energy Voice reported that the HSE notice had also highlighted the installation’s “potential to lose firewater supply”. 

Eni UK said it had carried out a risk assessment to confirm that it was safe to continue to operate the platforms in this condition, as well as to determine the urgency which repairs need to be carried out. 

“The firewater ring main remains fully capable of responding to any demand event in an appropriate and effective manner,” said Eni UK.

The company said it was implementing a corrective plan to meet the requirements of the notice, which need to be complied with by 30 April 2019.

Correction: IOSH Magazine published an earlier version of this story, which incorrectly referred to half of all safety critical valves being seized open. 


Nic Warburton is acting editor, IOSH Magazine

 Nick Warburton was previously acting editor of IOSH Magazine. Before that he was editor of SHP and he has also worked on Local Authority Waste and Recycling and Environmental Health Practitioner

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