Five Statoil workers have been exposed to poisonous H2S gas at the Sture terminal in Hordaland, Norway, the company reported.
The Norwegian firm issued a notice on the workplace accident late on Wednesday.
“Five people were sent to Haukeland Hospital after having been exposed to H2S gas (hydrogen sulphide). Relatives have been notified,” Statoil said in a statement.
Statoil Workers Exposed to Fatal Gas
The five people were exposed to the poisonous gas while working at a treatment facility for oily water inside the Statoil-operated terminal area, Statoil explained further.
According to the company, gas readings were carried out and there is no risk of further exposure.
Statoil’s Sture Crude Oil Terminal
“The police have commenced an investigation and, together with the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), will conduct further investigations on Thursday,” the statement adds.
In the meantime, emergency services and the authorities have been notified and Statoil has mobilised its emergency response organisations in Sture and Stavanger.
“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,” the company stated further.
H2S Gas Can Lead to Immediate Collapse
The Sture terminal is a port for crude oil shipments which receives crude oil and condensate from the Oseberg area through an oil pipeline and crude oil from the Grane field and Edvard Grieg through a different oil pipeline.
Hydrogen sulphide is a chemical compound that can poison different systems in the body, with toxicity comparable with that of carbon monoxide.
Short-term high-level exposure to the gas can lead to immediate collapse, with loss of breathing and a high probability of death.
However, the effects depend on the concentration and the duration of the exposure. While high concentrations can be fatal, lower concentrations can cause only mild respiratory symptoms.