HSE action over escape of water from IGas injection well

Stockbridge Hampshire

Stockbridge oilfield in Hampshire. Map: Oil & Gas Authority

The Health and Safety Executive has issued two improvement notices to IGas after an unintended escape of water at an injection well in Hampshire.

The incident at the Stockbridge oil field at the end of July 2018 led to the activation of the blowout preventer, the company confirmed.

According to the notices (here and here), IGas breached regulations on monitoring the condition of the Stockbridge 16Y well and on providing training to staff.

“You have failed to provide adequate instruction, training and supervision to personnel which led to an unplanned escape of fluids from the Stockbridge 16Y borehole”

“You have failed to adequately monitor the Stockbridge 16Y well conditions, which led to the unplanned and uncontrolled release of fluids from the Stockbridge 16Y wellbore”

IGas said in a statement:

“During a well intervention operation on a water injection well, there was an unintended flow of water from the well requiring the closure of the BOP [blowout preventer] rams.  Our onsite team responded to the incident, controlled it effectively and reported it to the HSE.

“The incident was thoroughly investigated both internally and with the HSE and appropriate action has been taken.”

The company has until 15 January 2019 to comply with the improvement notices.

In August, IGas told investors in a trading update that the sidetrack of a different water injection well at Stockbridge had encountered “greater than anticipated reservoir connectivity” and had been abandoned. This led to some production being temporarily shut in until water management was “optimised”. The update did not mention the incident on the 16Y well.

In a report on six monthly results in September, IGas said the 16Y well had been “successfully worked over and is now back online”. The company also said it was considering additional options for increasing water disposal capacity.

Improvement notices

The HSE issues improvement notices where there is no specified risk but there has been a contravention of regulations which is likely to continue or be repeated. Prohibition notices are issued where there are risks of serious personal injury.

Improvement notices are unusual in the onshore sector. The HSE had issued 18 to the oil extraction sector from January-September 2018. But the two issued to IGas appear to be the only notices during this period involving onshore operators.

The regulator’s online database, which goes back to 2013, has no listings of other improvement notices issued to IGas. In 2017, the company won a president’s award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA). This is issued to organisations that have won ten or more consecutive ROSPA gold awards.

According to the HSE database, of the 176 improvement notices issued since 2013, only one other appears to concern an onshore extraction operation. This was issued in October 2016, to another operator in Hampshire, Humbly Grove Energy Limited. The notice dealt with a failure to plan, organise, control, monitor and review protection measures against the potential for hydrogen sulphide (link).

40 replies »

  1. Yep-trout in the Test still looking great.

    All checked and improvements applied.

    Just drove back with the shopping. New housing development is busy removing mud from the road before the school turns out. More like brown than gold standards, but when the houses are finished they will be largely occupied by two car families hoping that the diesel production expansion (£500m) at the local refinery does take place. Suspect some might even be reliant upon that for their livelihood.

    • Martin
      Steady with the shopping

      Careful about the supermarkets, if you live near one but lucky you do not live near one in Lancashire.

      People had to leave their homes due to petrol odours. Although the report says that the blue light services turned up we know ( sorry, we are told ) that there is no evacuation plans in Lancashire, that they are not exercised and no one knows what to do.

      I guess the blue light services turned up and twiddled their thumbs, not knowing what to do. ( or maybe all that puff about the ER plan is fake news ).

      I see that the petrol station still operates fuelling the tourist industry and unconcerned locals.

  2. Improvement Notices. FFS. So much for ‘gold standard regulation’. Why are they hit with a fine or something? Time and time again fracking companies flout the regulations – Cuadrilla have breached regulations seven times in ten months – see desmog article below – yet they are allowed to continue as though nothing has happened. No fines, no bans, nothing. No wonder people have zero faith in our ‘regulators’ actually controlling this industry. Imagine how hopeless the EA and HSE would be if there were thousands of wells fracking all over the country. Pathetic.
    Read this for more:

  3. The highest standard of regulation but a low level of training! Any trust in regulation must be seeping away.

  4. Training issues, the key to many irreversible mistakes. Thought all personnel were highly skilled, shame they lie.

  5. Shame you don’t bother to do some research Ellie. Since when has Stockbridge EVER had anything to do with fracking?

    There really is no need to demonstrate that those against fracking generally have a low level of knowledge around the subject. We had already sussed that for ourselves.

    So, Stockbridge has a nice inconspicuous site extracting oil, and has done so for a long time. When finished with it will be returned to countryside. Meanwhile, a short distance away, where other small oil deposits are present they have taken another option-covered them over with housing estates. Has all of this reduced the need for Fawley Oil Refinery? Err, no. It continues to expand and brings in more oil from overseas. Southampton Airport, Gatwick Airport and Heathrow Airport all scheduled for expansion. Fuel sourced from?

  6. Another Green rip-off:

    “Tens of thousands of plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) bought with generous government grants may be burning as much fuel as combustion-engine cars.

    ​Data compiled for the BBC suggests that such vehicles in corporate fleets averaged just 40 miles per gallon (mpg), when they could have done 130.”

    I recall someone on this BB complaining that the Government had cut the subsidies on hybrids to zero. Now you know why…..

    Not made it to the Guardian yet?

    • Yes, the reason for this is the owners can’t be bothered to charge them up and rely on the combustion engine; lazy
      But then, it was said long ago; no point in fueling up with fossil fuel created electricity, it’s a double burn.
      You might want to ask Martin about his hybrid habits? I wonder what his carbon footprint is compared to his nemeses’ diesel?

    • How does that represent a green rip off?

      It looks to me more likely a poorly thought out Government initiative designed to encourage uptake by tax savings being abused by companies looking for tax loopholes to reduce capital costs.

      Perhaps if the scheme had targeted the right users ie those who use the vehicle in the correct manner rather than anyone looking to purchase company cars and settling on PHEVs because of the favorable tax status.

      • Ask Sherwulfe, he seems to agree with me. The point is that those that want a PHEV for environmental reasons would have bought one anyway?? No need to waste public money.

        Martin – what do you think?

          • Most are moving towards electric cars, not hybrids, hence the subsidy being removed. In a future world we will all have electric cars powered by wind and solar, but this will take time as proven with the hybrids – habits are hard to break…….it is likely, if we get a switched on government who truly recognizes the danger of climate change, it will support renewable business.

            A good government will support business, not be run by it……

  7. “The regulator’s online database, which goes back to 2013, has no listings of other improvement notices issued to IGas. In 2017, the company won a president’s award from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA). This is issued to organisations that have won ten or more consecutive ROSPA gold awards.

    According to the HSE database, of the 176 improvement notices issued since 2013, only one other appears to concern an onshore extraction operation. This was issued in October 2016, to another operator in Hampshire, Humbly Grove Energy Limited. The notice dealt with a failure to plan, organise, control, monitor and review protection measures against the potential for hydrogen sulphide ”

    How about an article about IGas earning the ROSPA president’s award?

    Do any of you antis even understand what operating a BOP means? Only 3 improvement notices for oil and gas onshore UK in the last 5 years – out of 45,000.

    I drilled the early Stockbridge wells with Amoco in the 1980’s – there is no issue with pressure in that field.

    • So Paul; what’s the big deal about the ROSPA award? This is an award for Occupational health and safety which is NOT the same as workplace H&S, neither does it cover the prevention of water escape from an injection well.

      It’s about first aid incidents and accidents with people. Do you know, with special permission, you can still apply for this award even if you have a fatality?

      Thousands of companies have this award at different levels [it’s an annual accumulation up the scale to presidents award]. It is a pay to enter exercise of around 10 occupational health questions plus evidence at level 2; bit like a short course at college and a portfolio submission. No big deal.

      • ‘Only 3 improvement notices for oil and gas onshore UK in the last 5 years – out of 45,000’ – this does not fill me with confidence knowing the HSE is underfunded and understaffed…….

        • So the HSE has issued 45,000 notices in the UK over 5 years and this does not fill you with confidence? I assume the only thing that would “fill you with confidence” would be to close down all the industries / firms that received these 45,000 notices? Oh dear Sherwulfe…..

          • So, the HSE only comes in when there is a serious breech of regulations or a death. Nothing else, unless volunteered or someone dobs you in. Most HSE notices are a slap on the wrist and have no bite. Pointless.

            Of course, there are also instances when the HSE should be checking progress, but have no records as they weren’t ‘invited’ at an appropriate time, so have to take the word of a ‘self-regulating’ industry; like I said, does not fill me with confidence……

            • Sherwulfe
              The HSEx inspect sites as well as visiting them as required following an event reportable under RIDDOR.

              You can get an improvement notice, prohibition notice or prosecution following an inspection or following a visit due to an event.

              So they do not come in only when there is a serious breach of regulations, they have planned inspections.

              The bite of notices et al are that they are cumulative, so should go get prosecuted, your record will count against you when a fine is applied under the sentencing guidelines.

              Since March 2015 magistrates courts have powers to issue unlimited fines for health and safety offences in England and Wales!

              Re checking progress, this can be done via the various reports that the operator needs to send to the HSEX and by site visits. If , during the visit, records,which are required to be kept in order to demonstrate compliance are not immediately available, the inspector can ask for a copy to be sent to them ( or copies sent prior to a planned inspection ). Failure to send a copy of such documentation would indicate that the company is in breach of regulation.

              But, we have a system of goal setting regulation that is the envy of the world, tho nothing is perfect.

              Some countries have a much more hands on approach to regulation, with prescriptive regulation and multiple ‘police’ who have powers to apply fines for the smallest breach of a regulation. None of these countries have better workplace safety than the UK. They are the sort of countries where the police line the roads in order to collect their wages from the law breaking general public ( especially prior to holidays). Indeed the regulatory authorities ( or the chief of an authority ) sometimes also run businesses that you need to use in order to comply!

        • Sherwulfe
          That there are 3 onshore oil and gas INs out of 45,000 may be more to its small size relative to the rest of the industries regulated and its high level,of regulatory compliance, than a lack of inspectors and resources, especially as onshore oil and gas inspection has benefitted from the closure of the coal industry and ramp down in offhore activity. They look well funded and well staffed for onshore oil and gas.

          It is not clear whether doubling the number of improvement notices to 90,000 would improve matters, or that it would increase the number of onshore related INs to 6.

          Perhaps injury data would be more revealing

        • Well well, ladles and jellyspoons, it’s the fourth fracked Sunday of the year and a very special 100th anniversary remembrance Sunday too.

          100 years since the last man was murdered in the First World War, that war to end all wars.

          But in fact as we all know, it did nothing of the sort, it was swiftly followed by another banking collapse and we were conned into yet another World Wide War.

          Now we just call the slaughter something else, since the act of the declaration of war is forbidden under the UN charter which prohibits the use of force by one state against another, but bankers still need the occasional bail out, so now we just call it incursion, or liberation or sanction, or peace with extreme prejudice or anything without actually declaring war in writing.

          The First World War was the second industrialised killing ground in recent history, the first was the American Civil War and many such murderous profiteering conflicts lies in between.

          All wars are bankers wars, the financial systems collapse due to gross greed and lies and the best way to fill the coffers is that most remunerative obscenity of all, sell everyone guns and bullets and spread hatred.

          Get neighbour fighting against neighbour, it doesn’t matter about what, left right, party politics, religion, fill the media full of polarisation, set one against the other, vicious name calling and labelling intended to dehumanise the opposition, it matters not what, just so long as it creates division and hatred. Then fabricate some excuse or other to unleash the pent up hounds of hell, hatred and greed will do the rest, and Old Nick’s your eternally grateful uncle.

          Objective achieved, mass slaughter and vast profits, rewriting the status quo so that more and more control and manipulation can be stored for the next onslaught.

          This is something I wrote yesterday, because now we are being set up for the whole new obscene profiteering mess again, and the very future of our planet is now the price not just the people, and we cannot afford to allow that price to be paid ever again.

          The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month 1918.

          It was the industrial war to end all industrial wars
          It was victory for few, death and worse for so many many many more, all sides, no quarter given or taken

          The guns fell silent, the last screaming bloody body sank beneath the stinking sucking mud
          Why me? He cried? Why now? I could have lived? I my bed amongst my loved ones i could have died?

          But the industrial machine must have its last sacrifice,
          its last pound of flesh and blood and bone must sign
          That bullet, that bomb, that shell, that gun that tank, that plane cost money,
          a shame to waste it, isn’t it?
          It was the fallen dead who paid the real price although
          Empty homes, empty seats at the table, empty beds, uncles, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, and fathers, grieving wives and mothers and sorrow in the home
          Who saw their finest march off to join the jolly fun
          Over by Christmas
          All over for some
          For Queen and country,
          For hearth and home
          The Kings shilling
          The Kings killing
          We fell in droves
          Mown down like ripe wheat and cast off chaff
          Over the top
          Walk not run
          Do not stop
          Though your comrades stall and fall
          We fell in mud
          We fell in Love
          We fell in hate
          We saw the gate
          We fell in groves
          Wave upon wave upon wave upon wave
          No mercy duty saves
          The sucking ocean of stinking cratered mud
          The splintered shattered wire the blood and bone and flesh and wood
          The bloody muddy stinking tide of war
          Dead fish upon the bloody muddy drowning shore
          Then we stood aghast
          Above the carnage
          Now free at last
          We looked down and saw our bodies shattered
          Saw our blood
          Saw our bones
          Saw the bitter nations duty stones
          Saw our writhing flesh turned cold and still
          And yet here we stood
          We looked one at the other
          Are we dead?
          Said son to father
          Said friend to foe
          Was it death these ghosts now show?
          We looked again
          At the smashed and torn
          The bitter reek, the smoking dawn
          Not recognized
          Not signified
          Not specified
          All flesh is grass
          Neither rank nor race
          Neither tank nor trench nor cratered grace
          But all as one
          We stood at last and saw the truth
          We knew our youth
          Had led us here
          Not out of love but out of fear
          Of others stripped from homes so dear
          We saw the common core
          We had been lied to and fell for nothing
          Or so called enemies there were standing near
          They had been told we were demons come to kill
          We had been told they would rape our mothers and daughters still
          If we did not fight and die upon this hill
          We had obeyed their orders
          They had obeyed their orders
          We all had all come to maim and kill
          They were no different
          All were pawns and fodder
          For strutting generals parading selfish will
          The bloody law
          The soldiers flaw
          You must go over the top, you must not stop
          You must kill them
          If you will not obey, we will kill you too
          We knew not the reason
          We knew not the who
          We spoke at length
          We spoke to all
          We understood each other too
          We gathered round
          The lost and found
          We talked of waste
          We talked of home
          We talked of why
          We talked of how
          We talked of Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele and the Somme
          We talked of passions failed
          We talked of lessons learned we asked the other’s tales
          Our sacrifice must surely sanity recover?
          We moved in time we moved in space
          Forward 100 years we searched the place
          What lessons learned
          We looked for love, we looked for more
          We looked for peace
          We looked for war
          We travelled here
          To see the times
          To see the world
          Moved on to see the progress of 100 years
          Surely it must be better here?
          What future this?
          What had we done?
          We saw the fears
          We saw the tears
          We saw the hate
          We saw divisions gate
          What science gift?
          What souls are swift?
          But we see clearly now
          No sanities vow
          Conflicts, terrorism, mass murder on an industrial scale
          Have our lives been in vain?
          Life is still yet cheap
          No promises they keep
          Terror and horror in every mind does seep
          Beamed into every home does creep
          Divisions rife
          Desolate hate that fill with twisted Isolated strife
          Bread and circuses drown the age
          In material comfort but not of love, not of hope, not of vision of a better way
          Lives soaked like sucking stinking mud in cynical conflict praised as life
          Politicians insane and profane fill the air
          With religious intolerance, bankers insanity inflame and scare
          So on this day we come to you
          To each and everyone its love we show
          You have lost the way
          This we clearly say
          Remember us today
          Learn the lessons our deaths betray
          For your future will be our past
          This false time of plenty cannot last
          You will pay the price if you don’t listen
          It is life you need to know the reason why
          Not life in shackles drowned in lies
          We speak to you today
          We hear what you say
          Yes it is hard to protect your back yard
          And others too, all are you, and they will free you too
          Your hearth and home is everyone’s there
          Not just for greed and hatred for profits empty stony stare
          You poison this land at your despair
          The planets gift is yours to share
          Stand tall and live
          Your guardians are here to show the way
          To futures bright
          No fear of night
          End the madness and say
          No more we fall
          No more we sway
          Together we
          Will win this sunny remembrance Sunday

          Well have a great remembrance Sunday with family and friends and relatives alive and dead, remember them and so many others, they speak to us, all we have to do is listen.

          • A very poignant piece form the heart Phil, and yet we still we see the build up of the ‘fear factory’. I observed the 2 minute silence and thought of those lost, past present and those who would be sacrificed in the future; greed and conflict and still the leaders huddle together in new ‘friendship’ groups, waiting for an opportunity to bully someone else…..all those souls lost; real human lives, not flickering on a movie screen; 1,000,000 million lost as cannon fodder in a game of 3D chess…..

      • Sherwulf
        The ROSPA award covers workplace health and safety, which is occupational health and safety ( as opposed to non occupational ( not workplace related )) health and safety.

        You could argue that they are less involved in process safety or specifically well control, but the overarching safety management systems should cover all risks generated by the operation.

        • Am afraid I have to disagree with you there hewes. The HSE as a body covers workplace safety and training, but the award, as far as I am aware only occupational health and safety…….

          • Sherwulfe

            We may have to disagree on this, but the HSE cover issues under the over arching HSWA, which covers all aspects of occupational health and safety at the workplace.

            So they cover occupational safety as well…be it COSHH, Manual handling, working at height, HAVS, somon smd so forth

            I cannot think of a workplace activity not under their remit that is also an occupational HSE risk

            • Sherwulfe

              The USA may have different regulations, but the meaning Occupational health and safety is the same.

              However, fair cop, so here below is the UK HSEx doc on how they regulate occupational health and safety in the UK. See the Forward.

              Click to access hse49.pdf

              My bona fides for knowing about this are …. Ex HSE inspector, Post Grad Diploma in Occational Health and Safety ( Loughborough ) 1996, Grad IOSH (Retired).

              Failing that we could pick an occupational health and safety topic not regulated by the HSEx at a site they visit. But I know of none.

            • Again I will disagree, the US have a completely and more lax system. I understand your definition of HSE, I am not questioning this but am not sure that this translates directly into the awards?

              ‘“You have failed to provide adequate instruction, training and supervision to personnel which led to an unplanned escape of fluids from the Stockbridge 16Y borehole”

              “You have failed to adequately monitor the Stockbridge 16Y well conditions, which led to the unplanned and uncontrolled release of fluids from the Stockbridge 16Y wellbore”’

              This a HSE regulation breech, not ROSPA

              This is the criteria for the ROSPA award; note it is about management structure, not about failure – as you will be aware, it is the responsibility of the employee to protect themselves, and what employee will report a sickness or incident relating to work for fear of losing their job? Major incidents will be investigated, but if paperwork is in place then no blame will be attached to the company;

              For info:
              1. How do your directors and senior managers lead health and safety in your
              organisation, including identifying priorities, setting key performance
              indicators and targets, monitoring progress and providing clear and effective
              leadership at all levels?
              2. How does your organisation ensure that it has access to competent advice
              and services, including in relation to occupational health?
              3. How does your organisation engage the workforce and their representatives
              in occupational health and safety, and what have been the benefits?
              4. How does your organisation ensure that all its employees and contractors are
              competent to fulfil their roles in occupational health and safety? Describe the
              approach taken in the selection and monitoring of contractors.
              5. How does your organisation use risk assessment to identify appropriate
              control measures for significant risks to health and safety and ensure that
              results are integrated effectively into business processes?
              6. How does your organisation ensure that occupational health and safety
              information is communicated effectively within and beyond the organisation?
              7. Describe your organisation’s approach to active monitoring of its safety and
              health performance and how this continues to evolve.
              8. How does your organisation ensure that it investigates occupational health
              and safety problems and implements lessons learned? How does it manage
              sickness absence?
              9. How does your organisation review its occupational health and safety
              performance periodically to assess progress against targets, set new priorities
              and report to internal and external stakeholders? Describe how the results of
              reviews inform business planning.
              10. Influential leadership – How is your organisation leading on safety in the
              workplace, in the community, and with young workers? ONE RECENT
              example should be given for each theme where possible.

              …as you will notice, most criteria is about occupational health – work related ill health, sickness, time off, leading to job loss….
              …and reporting systems…..

              So basically, if you either send your employees on a wellness course you will pass, or provide basic training in house/notices and reporting systems to get an award.

              As I said, no big deal.

              Additionally, ‘risk assessment’ in the workplace – slips, trips and falls 🙂 and in house reporting/training provides an ‘off the hook’ for companies as any breeches are classified as the fault of the employee, even if they are ‘pushed’ by managers to achieve targets that cannot be met without disregarding their training.

              • Sherwulfe
                The breach of regulations would seem to be covered by sections 4 and 5 of the ROSPA requirements and in particular the requirement for competence. The list is similar to many such award requirements and is quite high level. You could argue that all a company needs to do is identify which legal requirements apply to a company, and then comply with them. Leaving how much further you want to go beyond compliance to the HSE policy.

                However, I think this started with Paul Tresco noting that IGas had safety awards. I would note that having such an award is not a guarantee that things will not go wrong.

                Re reporting incidents, working in both the Coal and Oil / Gas industry incident reporting was ( and is ) carried out without fear or favour, both injuries, and near misses ( plus safety observations ). However I have not worked in all such companies, so some may be worse ( or better ) than others.

                The father in law, in comparison, worked for small fabrication companies, none of which seemed to grasp the needs for legal compliance, RIDDOR reporting or the basics for occupational health ( noise, hand arm vibration, manual handling, working at height ). Those companies are long gone, but the workers remain with their hearing loss and white finger claims paid out by the tax payer.

  8. Back in the real world – what is happening at PNR?

    According to the Guardian today Cuadrilla have been fracking all week:

    “Cuadrilla has been fracking daily this week but has not triggered any tremors since Sunday 4 November, when a 0.7-magnitude quake was registered. As it happened at a time when fracking was not under way, it did not register as a “red light” on the traffic light system of regulation.”

    Antis at the gate / Sherwulfe / Refracktion / Nannys et al – is this correct – have the pumps been running?

    • Hi Paul. I followed up this point with Cuadrilla over the weekend. The press office told me this morning:

      “Thank you for your enquiry. However, there was an inaccuracy in the Guardian article which has now been amended @
      “With regards to our operations at Preston New Road, we are continuing to test our exploration well in Preston New Road, Lancashire, including testing the responsiveness of the shale to fracturing. We are also analysing the recent natural gas flow at the surface and other data which is available to us following the start of our hydraulic fracture fracturing programme last month. However, we are not giving a stage by stage update on each frac.”

      Best wishes, Ruth

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