October 29, 2008

Oil Exec: North Sea Platforms Need Repair

Oil platforms in the North Sea, built in the 1970s, are "falling apart," an industry executive told a London conference Wednesday.

Ayman Asfari, chief executive of Petrofac, warned attendees at the Oil and Money Conference that the recent drop in oil prices could aggravate the situation by making less money available for repairs, the Glasgow Herald reported. Petrofac owns North Sea oil platforms and operates others for other companies.

"The state of some of these assets that were built in the 1970s is really bad -- they are falling apart," Asfari said. "We've seen incidents where people have fallen through gratings."

Oil & Gas UK, an industry group, said Asfari's description is too gloomy. Chris Allen, health, safety, environment and social director, said companies have spent more than 3 billion pounds (almost $5 billion) in the past three years on repair and maintenance.

But Jake Molloy, an official with OILC, a union representing offshore oil workers, said Asfari, because of his company's activities, is familiar with conditions on the older oil platforms.