The UK offshore oil and gas industry has set a target of reducing the number of hydrocarbon releases by 50% by the end of the first quarter of 2013 at a seminar held on 15 March.

The seminar at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, was sponsored by Endeavour Energy and jointly organised by Step Change in Safety and Oil & Gas UK, a trade association for the UK offshore oil and gas industry.

The event saw around 200 people from across the UK offshore oil and gas industry, who prioritised their commitment to tackling hydrocarbon releases, potential precursors to major incidents.

Step Change in Safety Asset Integrity Steering Group co-chair and Talisman Energy UK senior vice president Geoff Holmes said that hydrocarbon releases are precursors to major incidents, therefore reducing or eliminating this risk is an absolute priority.

"We deliberately set the bar high when, in 2010, we committed to reducing the number of hydrocarbon releases by 50%," Holmes added.

"We have already seen a reduction when HSE published their offshore safety statistics last summer but we know there is still a lot of work to do if we are going to meet this target."

The seminar, chaired by Steve Bullock and Geoff Holmes, co-chairs of Step Change’s Asset Integrity Steering Group, highlighted on the industry-wide sharing of learning and best practice, where the leading companies shared significant developments towards reducing releases.

Step Change’s Competency Steering Group has also launched an industry code of practice on mechanical joint integrity, compiled using several practices in making, breaking and maintaining pipeline joints from across the industry.

Oil & Gas UK stated the work would be a vital tool to help companies reduce the number of unplanned releases.

The delegates also had an opportunity to find out about new industry-led initiatives which could benefit their company as well as express their views on the potential challenges and obstacles.

The seminar saw the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Tom McLaren discuss the HSE’s thoughts on progress and expectations of the industry.

The event primarily aimed at operational managers, maintenance and integrity engineers; offshore installation managers, health and safety practitioners and safety representatives.

Step Change in Safety was founded in 1997 by the Oil and Gas industry trade associations with the aim of reducing all the UK offshore Oil and Gas industry injury rate by 50%.