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12 December 2017

Forties Pipeline

Stewart Stevenson (Banffshire and Buchan Coast) (SNP): Does the minister have any knowledge of the nature of the problem that has occurred in the pipeline? More fundamentally, does he know how the information about that failure may be shared with other pipeline operators to ensure that we have the best possible chance of this event being a one-off?

The Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy (Paul Wheelhouse): Mr Stevenson makes a very reasonable point about learning lessons from this and relaying any issues around good practice to other pipeline operators as swiftly as can be done. Obviously the Health and Safety Executive is not a devolved agency, but I am sure that it will take a very keen interest in this to ensure that something can be done to prevent a similar risk to safety from occurring in future. That is something that we very much need to take forward.

It appears that there is a crack or breach in the pipe. As yet, we do not have a confirmed cause for that failure, which goes to the heart of what is being said about the cause. We have to understand whether it is metal fatigue or another internal cause, or whether something externally damaged the pipe and thereby caused the crack. We do not have an answer to that question yet, but I certainly commit to furnish those answers to members in the chamber who have an interest once we have identified the cause.

Stewart Stevenson
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