Norway: Five workers exposed to poisonous gas

Five people have been exposed to poisonous H2S gas at Statoil-operated Sture Terminal in Hordaland, Norway.

According to Statoil, at 4:05 pm CET on Wednesday 12 October, notice was given of a workplace accident at the Hordaland.

“Five people were sent to Haukeland Hospital after having been exposed to H2S gas (hydrogen sulfide). Relatives have been notified,” Statoil said.

The Sture terminal in Øygarden municipality in Hordaland is a port for crude oil shipments. The terminal receives crude oil and condensate from the Oseberg area through a 115-kilometer oil pipeline and crude oil from the Grane field and Edvard Grieg field through a 212-kilometer oil pipeline.

Statoil said that the five people were exposed to H2S gas while working at a treatment facility for oily water inside the terminal area.

The clinical effects of H2S depend on its concentration and the duration of exposure. H2S is immediately fatal when concentrations are over 500-1000 parts per million (ppm) but exposure to lower concentrations, such as 10-500 ppm, can cause various respiratory symptoms that range from rhinitis to acute respiratory failure. H2S may also affect multiple organs, causing temporary or permanent derangements in the nervous, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, and hematological systems.

Gas readings were carried out and there is no risk of further exposure, Statoil said.

The area has been cordoned off, and the police have started an investigation and, together with the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, will conduct further investigations on Thursday.

“It is still too early to provide information about the cause of the incident. Statoil will also carry out its own investigations to determine how this could have occurred. Emergency services and the authorities were notified and Statoil mobilized its emergency response organization at both Sture and in Stavanger,” Statoil said.