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Evening Telegraph (Scotland): ‘Shell took cheap option’

The brother of an Invergowrie man, who died while working on a Shell oil rig, has accused the company of taking the cheaper option, writes Stefan Morkis.

Neil Moncrieff, whose brother Keith died three years ago, also said today the fatal accident inquiry into the death should have been given a wider remit.

Keith and Sean McCue, from Kennoway, both died after inhaling hydrocarbon vapours while inspecting a repair on the Brent Bravo platform on September 11, 2003.

A fatal accident inquiry into the deaths heard 38 days of evidence before Sheriff Colin Harris released his findings yesterday.

In his determination he said the accident might “reasonably have been prevented” if a more suitable repair had been carried out on the pipe in November 2002.

Sheriff Harris also said that if company procedures had been followed properly, the pipe would have been drained of gas before the two men were allowed to inspect it.

Last year, Shell was fined £900,000 after admitting three health and safety breaches over the incident.

Neil Moncrieff said he believed Shell had taken the cheaper option rather than shutting down the rig for a day to ensure it was safe.

He added, “I didn’t think the inquiry went far enough.

“It only dealt with certain issues on the rig and ignored all of the health and safety issues.

“The sheriff didn’t ask what would have happened if the gas had ignited. He said that wasn’t in his scope, but if the whole rig had gone up, we could have had another Piper Alpha.

“All they’ve really done is say, in hindsight, how the job should have been done in the first place.

“I am a bit disappointed they didn’t take it as far as they could. Shell makes these great profits and all they got fined for the lives of two men was £900,000.

“They could have done the job properly but it seems to me they were trying to cut corners.”

Mr Moncrieff said he and his family were still trying to come to terms with his brother’s death.

“It doesn’t go away — it always comes back. Whenever something about the North Sea comes on the television I always think my brother should still be here.” and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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