Being a risk engineer in the oil and gas business and all that, here’s my take on it: the root cause is a human error (most probably someone not following procedures) made during a non-routine operation (most probably maintenance). In short, somebody did something he was not supposed to when trying to fix something. Let’s see if I’m right.
Let’s see indeed. A colleague has pointed out that the final report of the incident has now been published. So was I right?
It seems the root cause was faulty instrumentation and controls causing the overfilling of a tank during normal, routine operations. This is pretty unusual. The reason I stated what I did with some confidence is that the vast majority of oil and gas incidents happen during non-routine maintenance, the Piper Alpha disaster having been the most deadly.
So much for my expert analysis. I’ll stick to throwing rocks over the side of ships.