Page last updated at 09:55 GMT, Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Offshore platforms 'in disrepair'

The warning has been issued by the chief executive of Petrofac

A senior offshore company executive has claimed some oil platforms in the North Sea are falling apart.

Petrofac chief executive Ayman Asfari said a potential drop in investment as a result of the collapse in oil prices could lead to serious accidents.

Mr Asfari said his company had seen installations which were in bad need of repair and fears firms will fail to spend enough on improvements.

Industry body Oil and Gas UK said it disagreed with Mr Asfari's comments.

Petrofac owns or operates a number of North Sea fields.

Already warned

Speaking at the Oil and Money Conference in London, Mr Asfari said he was concerned that the industry would end up in a situation where budgets were curtailed, leading to more risk of accidents.

He added that the safety regulator had already told the industry it needed to do more on installation integrity.

An Oil and Gas UK spokesman said that in this year alone the industry was spending more than 1.5bn on asset integrity.

However, Jake Molloy, from the offshore arm of the RMT union, said he was "delighted" to see a chief executive confirm what he had already warned about.

He told BBC Scotland: "I just wish we could get a few more chief executives to line up behind this gentleman."

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