Offshore safety ‘paramount’ says Wheelhouse

Scottish Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse has promised to ensure the health and safety of offshore workers remains “paramount” after an incident involving BP’s Glen Lyon last month.

It comes after production was shut down on the floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel following a suspected leak at the end of September.

The Glen Lyon is currently the biggest oil production ship in the world and works on the Schiehallion field west of Shetland.

Mr Wheelhouse said: “The health and safety of oil and gas workers and the marine environment in the North Sea is of paramount importance.

“The Scottish Government engages closely with all parts of the industry including the trade unions to monitor health and safety and will continue to work with all stakeholders to encourage effective stewardship of the marine environment and North Sea oil and gas reserves.

“As health and safety is a reserved matter, and the responsibility lies with UK Ministers, the matter was dealt with directly between the Health and Safety Executive and BP.

“However, the Scottish Government takes seriously the reporting of any concerns around health, safety and the environment in relation to the offshore workforce and industry, and we will continue to use our influence to ensure that good practise is captured and disseminated and to support the work of regulatory bodies to protect the health and safety of the brave men and women in the sector, who help meet our energy needs.”

Mr Wheelhouse’s response was in answer to a written parliamentary question from Aberdeenshire East MSP and fellow SNP member Gillian Martin.

She had asked the Scottish Government to confirm what measures had been taken to discuss safety with the oil major.

Ms Martin said: “The safety of our offshore workforce is extremely important and we must ensure that all checks are being made to prevent incidents occurring.

“I know many firms make sure they are taking preventative measures to reduce the number of incidents and downtime.

“The Scottish Government is doing all it can to make sure it engages with the workforce and companies to in order to prevent unnecessary downtime and keep the North Sea oil and gas industry going.”

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