Widow of Massy worker seeks NiQuan accident report

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Allanlane Ramkissoon –

ATTORNEYS for the widow of Massy Energy Engineered Solutions Ltd pipefitter Allan Lane Ramkissoon have written to the Prime Minister asking for a copy of the report on the accident which claimed his life on June 15, 2023.

On January 4, attorney Keshavi Khoorban, of the firm Martin George and Associates, wrote to Dr Rowley asking for the report.“We write to call upon your good self as the head of Cabinet of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to provide us with a copy of the report from the investigation into the accident which occurred on June 15, 2023 at NiQuan’s plant and which resulted in the death of Mr Allanlane Ramkissoon.

“We trust that your good office will act with utmost transparency and we therefore look forward to receiving a copy of the said report within seven days of the date hereof.”

On June 15, 2023, Ramkissoon was burned while working at NiQuan’s gas-to-liquids plant in Pointe-a-Pierre. Three days later on June 18, Ramkissoon, of Barrackpore, died in Colombia, where he was being treated.Ramkissoon was burned over around 40 per cent of his body, and further injured when he jumped ten feet to escape the flames in the room where he was trapped.

Immediately after the incident, the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) called on NiQuan to stop work at its facility.

The incident in June was described as an “accidental flash fire.”

Massy Energy and NiQuan launched investigations, as did the OSH Agency and the Ministry of Energy.

Shortly after the incident, the Prime Minister said it was uncertain if the Energy Ministry’s investigation into the accident could be made public, since NiQuan was a private legal entity.

In July, NiQuan’s founder and chief visionary officer Ainsley Gill, in an affidavit, spoke about the incident.

“On the June 15, 2023 there was an unfortunate and tragic incident at the NiQuan GTL Plant which resulted in serious burn injuries and subsequent demise of an employee of NiQuan’s maintenance contractor, Massy Energy Engineered Solutions Ltd (‘MEES’).

“MEES is the professional engineering and maintenance contractor engaged by NiQuan pursuant to a master services agreement.

“The worker was engaged directly under a contract of services with MEES.

“The injury to the MEES worker was sustained while he was carrying out preparatory work for routine planned maintenance works at the plant. The plant was not running at the time except for production of steam.

“The preparatory work concerned the cleaning of a section of piping in the fractionation skid area of the plant and it specifically involved using nitrogen and steam to clean out the piping using hoses.

“There was the customary scope of work, job hazard analysis and work plan and other documents pertaining to the management of the change to reroute a section of the piping as recommended by Topsoe in order to attain greater wax flows and ultimately increased production output from the hydrocracker unit (HCU).

“The worker was selected by MEES and assigned to undertake the task of removing the clean out hose used in the cleansing and purging process.

“Subject to the findings of a professional independent root cause analyst who has been engaged to investigate and produce a root cause analysis report, NiQuan’s preliminary investigation indicated that the worker disconnected the cleaning hose but had neglected to close the clean out value.

“There being remnant hydrocarbons, oxygen from the disconnection of the hose and hot steam tracing lines in close vicinity, a resultant flash fire occurred which was concentrated on MEES employee undertaking the procedure.”

Gill continued, “While there was no impact to the integrity of the plant and its process systems, NiQuan ceased all work permits for the plant in recognition of the unfortunate fatality and also to allow a period for the operations and other staff and contractors to regroup, attend employee assistance programme sessions and be fully fit for resumption of plant operations.

“NiQuan is treating with investigations being undertaken by the OSHA, and the Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries.

“In reviewing its policies and procedures with MEES, NiQuan has implemented changes, measures and enhancements designed to ensure that a similar accident does not occur in the future.

“This is being done with the objective of the lifting of the prohibition order imposed by the OSHA relative to the activities relating to the purging and cleaning of rework pipelines.

“Once this is achieved, the natural gas feedstock will be reintroduced to the GTL plant and further attempts will be made by the defendant to achieve the critical Lenders’ Reliability Test and Commercial Operations Date.”