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.
“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.
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).