Royal Dutch Shell Safety Record

Houston firms facing pipeline fines, penalties: Friday 29 June 2001


And Houston-based Equilon Pipeline Co. was slapped last week with $10 million in state and federal environmental fines for the 1999 rupture of a gasoline pipeline in Bellingham, Wash., resulting in three fatalities.

Equilon also faces a $3 million fine issued last year by the DOT -- the largest penalty ever proposed against a pipeline operator in the history of the federal pipeline safety program. The El Paso penalty is the largest ever proposed against a natural gas pipeline operator.

Equilon, a joint venture of Texaco and Royal Dutch/Shell, was majority owner of Olympic Pipeline Co, operator of the Bellingham pipeline at the time of the accident. Since then, BP has taken control of Olympic Pipeline.

Both El Paso and Equilon were charged with violating numerous safety requirements in the operation of their respective pipelines.

Equilon told the state it was not operating the pipeline at the time of the rupture but had simply loaned Olympic several employees, including Equilon's president, three vice presidents and the head of environmental compliance.

Reuters: Shell Washington refinery cited for safety violations: 25 June 2008

HOUSTON, June 25 (Reuters) - Washington state's Department of Labor & Industries said on Wednesday it found 23 serious safety and health violations at Shell Oil Co's 145,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery in Anacortes, Washington.

Shell said it was weighing a possible appeal of the agency's citation, which could lead to fines totaling $109,600.

Among the serious violations found at the Shell Anacortes refinery were failures to identify and control hazards that could lead to releases of highly hazardous chemicals and deficiencies in the development of mechanical integrity programs, the Labor & Industries Department said.

Seattle Times: Safety violations to cost Shell: 26 June 2008

Washington's Department of Labor and Industries on Wednesday fined Shell Oil $109,600 for multiple safety violations in its Anacortes refinery.

The refinery, the second largest of the four major facilities that supply the Puget Sound region with gasoline and other petroleum products, was cited for 23 violations ranging from inadequately instructing operators on how to deal with emergencies to faulty inspections.

Shell, a unit of Anglo-Dutch oil conglomerate Royal Dutch Shell, is reviewing the citation, said Shell spokesman Brian Sibley. Shutting down the operation is "highly unlikely," he said.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is heading up a test venture in Hawaii to turn oil-rich algae into fuel. If the process is found commercially viable, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate could build algae-processing plants elsewhere.

Bloomberg: Nigerian Oil Pipe Fire Extinguished, 6 Workers Died, Shell Says: 17 November 2008

BBC News: Gas firms fined over worker death: 26 November 2008 (Both Shell and AMEC admitted breaching health and safety rules and were each fined £150,000 plus £41,500 in costs at Norwich Crown Court.)

FT article: Shell deaths higher than other western groups: 30 November 2008 (Royal Dutch Shell last year suffered more workforce deaths than any other large western oil company, with a rate of fatalities twice as high as BP’s.)

upstreamonline: Shell death toll 'higher than peers' : 01 December 2008 (Last week Shell and service player Amec were each fined £150,000 ($230,000) after an Amec worker died during operations at Clipper.)

The Times-Picayune: Last weekend's helicopter crash shakes up offshore workers: 10 January 2009

Reuters: Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite: 30 January 2009

(Royal Dutch Shell has intensified its cost-cutting efforts in response to the collapse in oil prices and also plans to step up efforts to improve what it said was a "mixed" safety record. Brinded said Shell had a “dreadful start” to this year after 10 contractors and one third party were killed in three incidents. )

International Herald Tribune: Shell gets tough on costs as oil prices bite: 30 January 2009

Reuters: Oil industry cost, job cuts may hit safety, skills: 3 February 2009

The Herald: ‘They know what they have to do: launch the life rafts and get out': 19 February 2009

(In July 2002, a Sikorsky S76 helicopter was ferrying personnel between a platform and a drilling rig, both owned by Shell, when it ditched about 25 miles north-east of Great Yarmouth, killing all 11 on board. It is understood the aircraft remained afloat after ditching. In March 1991, six men were killed when a Sikorsky S61N struck a crane on a Shell oil platform and plunged into the sea 116 miles east of Lerwick in Shetland.)

The Press and Journal: Alarm over hundreds of offshore incidents: 4 March 2009

The Sunday Times: Oil rigs plagued by safety lapses: 12 April 2009

London Fire Brigade: Shell fined record sum for fire safety breaches: 2 June 2009

The Guardian: Shell fined £300,000 over fire safety breaches: 3 June 2009

Shell slammed on safety: 21 May 2011: upstreamonline


The HSE has told Shell to submit a revised safety case for the Brent Charlie platform after gas was detected on its topsides following leaks on 12 January this year and 27 September 2010, Upstream can reveal.

Norway Raps Shell for Risking Oil Leak: 23 May 2011: The Wall Street Journal


LONDON—Royal Dutch Shell PLC has been rapped by Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority for a maintenance error on an oil well that had “major accident potential” and risked an oil leak.

The failure of all barriers to hydrocarbon flow from a well is very serious. An out-of-control well caused the explosion that destroyed the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig last year, resulting in a three-month oil spill from a BP PLC well in the Gulf of Mexico.

Shell slammed for ‘serious’ safety slips: 23 May 2011: upstreamonline


Anglo-Dutch supermajor Shell has been hit with a safety order from the Norwegian authorities following an investigation into a well incident on the Draugen platform in December last year. The incident occurred during a wireline operation to replace a gas lift valve in well 6407/9-A-01. The operation resulted in the subsurface safety valve becoming stuck in the Xmas tree, blocking the upper mast valve, and leaving only one barrier against a potential leak.

Shell ‘ignored safety warnings’ before Bacton explosion: 16 June 2011 BBC News


The company has admitted seven safety and pollution offences following the explosion and fire at the Bacton terminal in Norfolk.

Gas terminal blast: Shell fined £1m plus £240,000 costs: 20 June 2011


Shell UK has been fined £1m plus £240,000 costs after an explosion at a gas terminal in Norfolk in 2008.

The company admitted seven safety and pollution offences following the explosion and fire at the Bacton terminal.

Ipswich Crown Court heard the company ignored warnings from staff before the explosion.

Shell ordered to pay $2 million for UK gas fire: 20 June 2011 Reuters


(Reuters) – A British court ordered Royal Dutch Shell’s UK unit to pay 1.242 million pounds ($2 million) in fines and legal costs for a fire at its Bacton gas terminal in 2008 which cut more than a tenth of UK gas supply.

A leak of highly flammable hydrocarbon liquid caused the explosion and fire at a waste water plant in which nobody was killed or seriously injured only by “good fortune,” according to Britain’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

British court fines Shell UK 1.2 million pounds ($2M) over blast in 2008 at coastal terminal: 20 June 2011: The Washington Post


Judge Martin Binning said Monday that workers had warned Shell many times about dangerous conditions at the plant in Bacton, on the Norfolk coast 125 miles (200 km) northeast of London.

Shell UK sentenced over Norfolk gas blast: 20 June 2011: UK Health & Safety Executive


The explosion blew the concrete roof off a buffering tank within the plant, hurling concrete and metal debris over a large area and sucking a nearby drain out of the ground. After investigating the incident HSE and Environment Agency (EA) jointly prosecuted the firm over safety, environmental control and pollution-prevention failures at the plant leading to the explosion.

Oil and gas spills in North Sea every week, papers reveal: 5 July 2011: The Guardian


Shell has emerged as one of the top offenders despite promising to clean up its act five years ago after a large accident in which two oil workers died.

Shell platform to shut down amid continuing concerns about safety: 6 July 2011 The Shetland Times


The Shell-operated Brent Charlie platform 125 miles north-east of Lerwick is to shut down from next Friday on the orders of oil industry regulators amid continuing concerns about safety.

But now the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has served Shell with a legally-enforceable prohibition notice which means the operator will have to cease production entirely. An HSE spokesman declined to give details of the “safety issues” it was concerned about for legal reasons.

HSE feared a ‘catastrophe’ at Brent C platform: 9 August 2011: upsteamonline

The UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) feared “catastrophic consequences” on Shell’s Brent Charlie platform because the scale of a long-running series of gas leaks meant ignition was “almost inevitable”, documents reveal.

Revealed: Shell’s poor safety record in the UK: 21 August 2011: Sunday Herald Scotland

Dixon called for Shell’s North Sea operations to be restricted until a full and independent audit of all its facilities had been carried out. “Shell’s poor regard for safety and their terrible communications over the last 10 days should be ringing major alarm bells…”

Shell had oil rig safety warning: The Sunday Times: Scotland. 21 August 2011

AN internal investigation by Shell eight years ago raised serious concerns about safety in the Gannet oilfield, where the company has been battling to contain the worst spill in British waters for a decade. Documents obtained by The Sunday Times reveal that dozens of unauthorised repairs were carried out on Shell's Gannet Alpha platform.

HSE Letter to Shell 18 July 2011

Warning North Sea oil platforms could be near collapse: STV News 5 September 2011

Former Shell chairman James Smith to lead deregulation of UK oil and gas industry: Daily Telegraph 7 Sept 2011

The minister has written to "stakeholders" in the oil industry urging them to contribute their thoughts, while promising that current standards would not be lost. However, his comments may cause alarm among those who have pressed for tighter regulation in the wake of recent North Sea problems such as Shell's pipeline leak and concerns from the Health and Safety Executive about platform corrosion.

SCOTTISH OIL RIGS IN DIRE STRAITS: Sunday Express article 11 Sept 2011

Mr Campbell insisted it is only a matter of time before there is another major tragedy in the North Sea. He said: “According to public domain data there were 85 gas releases and 443 dangerous occurrences last year. If you are getting 85 gas leaks that’s one and a half, or two, leaks a week. The probability of an undesirable event is very high.”

Explosion warning over Shell platform: The Press and Journal: Saturday 17 Sept 2011

The Health and Safety Executive is raising fears once again about the 35- year-old Brent Charlie platform, which has recorded 61 oil and gas leaks in a decade.

It emerged last night that the company has been served with an improvement notice over its failure to take action to identify “events” that could lead to a major accident, fire or explosion following a gas release.

Shell has been given until the end of the month to tackle the issues – which relate to one of the platform legs – or face further sanctions from the government body.


SEE ALSO "Royal Dutch Shell Safety Concerns"