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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 October, 2003, 13:53 GMT 14:53 UK
Anger over oil death report
Brent Bravo
Investigations into the deaths are continuing
An oil company has denied blaming two oil workers for a gas leak which caused their deaths.

Shell Expro has produced its interim findings following an investigation into the incident on the Brent Bravo platform last month.

Unions have attacked the company for "pointing the finger" at Sean McCue and Keith Moncrieff.

However, the company defended the publication of the report and said it had been taken out of context.

A spokeswoman said: "Shell is not apportioning blame to anyone and we regret the way this report has been interpreted by some people.

Separate investigations

"We promised we would share all important safety information as early as possible and we will continue to do so."

Shell Expro, the Health and Safety Executive and Grampian Police are conducting separate investigations into the incident.

Mr McCue, 22, from Kennoway, Fife, and Mr Moncrieff, 45, from Invergowrie, Tayside, were overcome by gas while working on patched pipework in a leg of the platform.

We promised we would share all important safety information as early as possible and we will continue to do so
Shell Expro
Brent Bravo is located 116 miles north east of Shetland.

Part of the company's interim report says that one of the two technicians had apparently slackened one hose clip.

It said this had caused a "significant" leak from the pipe.

"The rate of the release and quantity of gas was sufficient to rapidly overcome the two technicians, who did not put on their emergency rebreathing apparatus," it said.

Jake Molloy, general secretary of the offshore trade union OILC, said the report had left more questions than answers.

"While Shell claim it is a statement of fact, it is the way that it is phrased that is causing so much anger amongst the workforce," he said.

To even suggest that these lads caused the leak... beggars belief as there should not have been any gas there
Jake Molloy
OILC union
"It is difficult to read it any other way, other than it is pointing the finger at the two lads who died.

"It is highly insensitive to put this report out to a workforce still grieving the loss of their colleagues."

He said the intensity, speed and volume of the gas debilitated the workers so quickly that they did not have time to put on emergency breathing equipment.

"To even suggest that these lads caused the leak - the way it is phrased - beggars belief as there should not have been any gas there," he said.

"The two lads could never have anticipated that level of gas in the line."

However, he was confident that any suggestion the men were to blame would be "completely removed" once all the facts were known.

Oil workers were suffocated
25 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Union raises platform leak worries
19 Sep 03  |  Scotland
Oil platform deaths inquiry begins
12 Sep 03  |  Scotland

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