Fire on North Sea FPSO Forces Partial Evacuation of Staff

fire on FPSO in North Sea
Petrojarl Foinaven is at the end of its 25-year life awaiting decommissioning (Facebook)

Published Apr 4, 2022 7:07 PM by The Maritime Executive

A fire aboard a retired FPSO in the North Sea caused the evacuation of non-essential personnel on April 2. The vessel which was a pioneer in UK North Sea operations remains staffed although no longer operational as they are awaiting approval of a decommissioning plan.

The UK’s Maritime and Coastguard Agency confirmed reports of the fire aboard the Petrojarl Foinaven saying that it had received notification around 3:00 p.m. on April 2. At the time the vessel which is approximately 120 miles west of Shetland had 80 people on board. The decision was to airlift 30 non-essential people to nearby facilities. Five people were assessed for possible smoke inhalation.

The MCA reported that two helicopters were dispatched to assist in the removal of the personnel while an airplane was also sent to provide support for the operation. They did not report how long its operation lasted. 

BP and Altera Infrastructure reported that the fire was brought under control and extinguished. They believe it started in a storage room and will continue to investigate.

Just a year ago, BP announced it was suspending operations on the vessel which has been at the Foinaven field since 1997. According to the company, the vessel was a pioneer in the North Sea, serving the first deepwater development on the UK Continental Shelf and in the region west of Shetland. Measuring 820 feet in length the vessel had an oil production capacity of 140,000 barrels per day with storage for 280,000 barrels.

Considering the harsh conditions, the vessel had been exposed to in the North Sea, BP said that it had reached the end of its economic life and that it would be safer and more economical to remove the vessel. Once plans for the decommissioning are approved and the vessel is removed from the location,  Altera is expected to take control of the vessel