Varanus Island Investigation Report Released
The Varanus Island Gas pipeline explosion investigation report has been tabled in State Parliament.
The long-awaited State Government-commissioned final investigation report Offshore Petroleum Safety Regulation – Varanus Island Incident Investigation Report into the pipeline explosion on Varanus Island on June 3, 2008 was today tabled in State Parliament.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said in Parliament that release of the report findings was overdue and had been hindered by ongoing litigation by Apache North West Pty Ltd and its co-licensees and the decision of the State Government to prosecute.
“This day has been a long time coming for myself and the people of Western Australia.
“I believe they have a right to know the cause of the incident, the effectiveness of the State’s regulatory systems at the time, and the safety and energy security implications for the State,” Mr Moore told the Legislative Council.
The Minister told the House that the report was highly critical of Apache, particularly regarding the company’s technical and operational failings as the operator.
He said the investigators were also critical of State and Commonwealth regulators at the time.
“The report concluded that Apache North West Pty Ltd has the ultimate responsibility for maintaining the Varanus site in good condition and repair,” he said.
Mr Moore read the executive summary of the report and tabled the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s response to the report’s recommendations.
“Despite the delays in receiving the advice contained in the report and delays in being able to table it in Parliament, the State Government has already taken significant steps to improve regulatory services and delivery of resources safety for WA’s resources sector,” he said.
“The new Department of Mines and Petroleum has a stronger focus with clear, unambiguous responsibility for ensuring the regulation of safety, health, environment and facility integrity in the upstream petroleum industry is world best practice.
“The Varanus Island incident highlights that while streamlining regulatory requirements for resources projects, the State Government must also act to improve regulatory systems, expertise and enforcement.
“Industry and community alike expect the upstream petroleum industry must meet best-practice regulatory standards to ensure the integrity of offshore facilities providing vital energy to WA.”