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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 November, 2004, 16:54 GMT
BP fined over offshore gas leak
Forties Alpha
The incident involved the Forties Alpha platform
BP has been fined a total of 200,000 following a gas escape from a corroded pipe on a North Sea oil platform.

The oil giant admitted two charges of breaching health and safety regulations in the incident two years ago on the Forties Alpha platform.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court heard that more than a ton of hydrocarbon gas escaped when a corroded pipe ruptured.

Sheriff Annella Cowan noted there had not been any fire or explosion, but said any escape of gas was serious.

A spokesman for the Health and Safety Executive said platform operators have to ensure worker safety.

Sell off

He said the prosecution highlighted the importance of managing the integrity of offshore installations.

The OILC offshore union said it sends a message to other platform operators that continuing corrosion problems and lack of maintenance must be addressed.

Meanwhile, unions have praised BP for its decision to sell off its entire operation at Grangemouth.

BP's Grangemouth plant will remain as a single entity
Earlier this year the company said it wanted to split the site into two separate entities, with the oil refining work remaining within BP and the chemical plants being sold to a new company known as Newco.

However, it has now announced that both parts of the businesses will be transferred to Newco by the middle of next year, ending BP's 80-year history at Grangemouth.

The new company, which will take on the 1,300 employees, will eventually be sold through the stock market.

The Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) said it was "surprised and reassured" that BP had come to that conclusion after consulting with unions.

'Best result'

Chief negotiator Jim Mowatt said: "This provides a much better prospect for the Grangemouth complex and a more solid future for our members. This revised decision is a vote for the future of Scotland's largest manufacturing site.

"Recognising the reality of BP wishing to jettison its petrochemical business world-wide, and specifically at Grangemouth, this announcement is the best result for my members, Grangemouth and the Scottish economy."

BP and Newco have promised that there will be no compulsory redundancies.

BP is also shutting a plastics company at Grangemouth and moving the work to Belgium.

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