Investigation after shotgun used to relight flare on North Sea rig

UK police and the Health & Safety Executive are investigating after a shotgun modified to fire magnesium cartridges was used on December 26th to relight a gas flare on a North Sea platform. The gun was used due to a glitch with the flare’s automated ignition system on Total’s Elgin platform following the repair of the Forties Pipeline System (FPS).

Concerns were apparently raised by a worker as to whether the person who fired the gun had a firearms licence.

But Total insisted using a modified gun is standard procedure in the event of the flare’s automated ignition system failing to work. The company said the crew on the platform, which is about 150 miles east of Aberdeen, had been taken to a safe place during the procedure and stressed that no workers were at risk.

Total said that “we are working with the authorities to clarify a firearms licensing matter”.