The Piper oilfield is a North Sea oilfield overlaying 30.1 km2. It lies roughly midway between Aberdeen and Bergen, on the japanese finish of the Moray Firth basin.
Occidental Petroleum, Getty Oil, Thomson North Sea, and Allied Chemical, that later remodeled into the OPCAL three way partnership, obtained an oil exploration licence in 1972 and found the Piper oilfield in early 1973 after seismically mapping the realm. Oil manufacturing began in 1976 with about 250,000 barrels per day. Oil extracted from it was piped to Scotland, the place it was refined at a refinery on the island of Flotta, within the Orkney Islands, whereas fuel was shipped through the Frigg fuel pipeline. In June 1975, the Piper Alpha oil platform was positioned over the sphere in 144 m of water, secured in place by 24 piles extending 116 m beneath the seabed. The platform was designed for simultaneous drilling and manufacturing. Piper Alpha grew to become Britain’s largest single oil and fuel producing platform, bringing greater than 300,000 barrels of crude a day – 10% of the nation’s whole. In late 1980, fuel conversion gear was put in permitting the ability to supply fuel in addition to oil.
On the night of 06 July 1988, a condensate pump was remoted for upkeep on its motor drive coupling. The strain reduction valve had additionally been eliminated for upkeep and a blind flange fitted as an alternative. The flange was not, nevertheless, leak-tested or pressure-tested. When second pump tripped at about 21.45, the operators tried unsuccessfully to restart it. On sixth July the short-term blanking plate failed and a excessive strain fuel leak occurred. At about 21.45, the second condensate pump tripped. Shortly afterwards, fuel alarms activated, the first-stage fuel compressors tripped and the flare was noticed to be a lot bigger than typical. At about 22.00 an explosion ripped by way of Piper Alpha. The preliminary explosion within the fuel compressor module precipitated a condensate line teeing into the principle oil line to rupture within the oil separation module. Witnesses reported a second flash and bang as an enormous fireball roared into the evening sky. A large fireball engulfed Piper Alpha. Machinery and steelwork melted and evacuation by security vessels and helicopters grew to become not possible.
Piper Alpha was so badly weakened by the extraordinary fires that the topsides began to break down. The major lodging module, a four-storey constructing by which at the very least 81 males had been sheltering, slid into the ocean. All these inside died.
By the early morning of 07 July 1988, three-quarters of the unique topsides, along with vital sections of the jacket, had been destroyed and lay in a tangled mass on the ocean mattress 140 meters beneath.
Of the 226 individuals on board that evening, solely 61 survived. Of the deceased, 109 died from smoke inhalation, 13 by drowning, 11 of accidents together with burns. In four instances, the reason for loss of life couldn’t be established, and 30 our bodies had been by no means recovered.
It took over three weeks for the fires to be extinguished. The stays of Piper Alpha had been toppled into the ocean on 28 March 1989.
Piper Alpha was – and nonetheless is – the world’s worst offshore oil tragedy. The catastrophe led to insurance coverage claims of round $1.four billion, making it at the moment the biggest insured man-made disaster.
The Piper B platform was put in in 1992 to interchange the Piper Alpha and commenced manufacturing in February 1993. Today owned by Repsol Sinopec the ability is situated roughly 800 meters from the wreck buoy marking the stays of its precursor.
A memorial sculpture, exhibiting three oil employees, was erected within the Rose Garden inside Hazlehead Park in Aberdeen.
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