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North Sea platform explosion

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89/116C 19 April 1989

North Sea Platform Explosion

The Federal Minister for Resources, Senator Peter Cook, expressed concern today at reports of an explosion on another North Sea oil and gas platform, following the Piper Alpha disaster last year.

The explosion on the Cormorant Alpha platform did not result in a fire and from preliminary reports all 227 people on board have been safely evacuated.

Senator Cook commented that the incident reinforced the importance of the work underway in Australia to review safety on offshore petroleum facilities and where necessary, to learn from the UK experience.

"The Consultative Committee on Offshore Safety I established following the Piper Alpha disaster has been actively reviewing the information from the UK inquiries along with all offshore operators in Australia and I am pleased with the positive response."

The Committee has examined a wide range of safety aspects and procedures and where necessary the operators have made a number of significant changes to their operations as a result of the Piper Alpha disaster. The Committee includes representatives

from Federal and State Governments, the offshore operators and unions.

Senator Cook applauded the action by Woodside Offshore Petroleum to install an emergency shutdown valve on its North Rankin gas platform which would in the event of a fire or

explosion prevent the flow of gas back on to the platform - a major contributory factor in the Piper Alpha disaster. Installation is expected to take place next week.

Further information: Gary Quinlan (062) 77 7480

Dick Wells (062) 724785