Trends in causes of offshore releases by severity classification

Maria Koutsoudaki, Brian Bain, Nijs Jan Duijm, Igor Kozine

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The UK HSE Hydrocarbon Release Database (HCRD) contains data on loss of containment events in the UK sector of the North Sea. The data shows a decrease in the annual number of releases. A study was carried out to determine whether statistically significant trends are apparent when categorizing releases by severity and specific cause. It was investigated whether the relative contribution of some causes as compared to all releases, had changed over time.

The main conclusion is that over the analysed period (1993–2014), the relative contribution of “Procedures” as a cause for release has decreased with statistical significance. “Design” improvements seem to lead to a reduction in releases too. Finally, “Equipment” was improving at the slowest rate, if at all, until 2005. Since then, it appears to improve as well. These findings are robust, at least for the total set of data, and the releases of Significant severity. For releases of Major severity, the number of incidents is too small to justify any conclusion on trends.

The conclusions suggest that over the analysed period improvements in offshore safety have been mainly driven by improvements in management, covering elements like procedures, competence and compliance.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104283
JournalJournal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Safety
  • Offshore
  • Release
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Cause
  • Statistics


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