More than 100 oil rigs and platforms in the North Sea will soon be safety-checked, under a new Health and Safety Executive programme.
A total of 125 rigs, half the 250 rigs in the sea, are said to have gone past their “design life”. Some of them were put up 35 years ago.
The HSE has insisted its inspections are not being carried out because of safety fears but merely to make sure the correct systems and procedures are being followed.
Speaking at an Aberdeen seminar, the executive’s Steve Walker said: “The issue of ageing installations is not a new one and we have been working with the industry to address the risks for several years.”
He added: “Ageing offshore installations run the risk of deterioration, which can have serious consequences for installation and asset integrity. This is not acceptable. The safety of 28,000 workers is dependent on systems and structures being in good working order now and in the future.”
The Ageing and Life Extension Inspection Programme objectives, called Key Programme 4, will be pursued for three years.