Posts Tagged ‘PSA’

This notice from the Petroleum Safety Authority of Norway adds yet another twist to the Nord Stream saga:

In recent times, Ptil has received several notices/messages from operator companies on the Norwegian continental shelf about observations of unidentified drones/aircraft in the vicinity of offshore facilitiesWe have called for increased vigilance from all operators and shipowners on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Here is Nord Stream’s update on their investigations into the pipeline leaks:

Nord Stream AG has started mobilization of all necessary resources for a survey campaign to assess the damages in cooperation exchange with relevant local authorities. Currently, it is not possible to estimate a timeframe for restoring the gas transport infrastructure. The causes of the incident will be clarified as a result of the investigation.

Meanwhile, Swedish seismologists have reported explosions near the leaks.

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14.07.2011 | On Wednesday 13 July, a fire broke out in the compressor area of Valhall PCP. Today the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) will send two representatives to Valhall to investigate the incident.

The fire, which was reported to the authorities yesterday afternoon, started at around 4.40 p.m. A standby vessel was deployed to put out the fire and at 6.45 p.m. it was confirmed that the fire had been extinguished. All personnel were evacuated and there were no injuries.


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If someone had asked me a few years ago what the highest risk offshore system was, I certainly would not have said a fully cased well in the process of being suspended. Yet that was the scenario for both of the recent mega-incidents, Montara and Macondo.

I would have instead suggested that dynamic production risers were the highest risk offshore system. The combination of relatively new technology, movement,  fatigue potential, exposure in the splash zone, and continuous hydrocarbon flow poses risks that must be carefully managed.  That is why investigations of incidents like the Visund gas leak are so important. In that regard, PSA does an excellent job and prominently posts all of their reports so that we all may benefit. I recommend that you take a look at this one.

In connection with the planned shutdown on Visund on 9 April 2011, a hydrocarbon leak occurred from well A21’s 6” flexible riser UK-18-0009. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has carried out an investigation of certain aspects of the incident.

 We have identified three nonconformities within the areas of establishment and follow-up of preconditions for safe operation of dynamic risers, training and expertise and governing documentation.

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From the standpoint of post-Macondo safety and regulatory issues, this concise summary is the most comprehensive and useful report that I have read since the blowout.

I have pasted (below) comments about information management – one of the many important topics considered in the report – and hope you take time to read the entire summary. It is only 12 pages.

Conducting a critical review of the information used to manage major accident risk is one of the measures relevant for the companies. This work could include an assessment of
 the relevance, reliability and modernity of the indicators used to follow up risk trends
 inappropriate use of indicators, incentives and reward systems
 the need for better indicators and other information about the business which can be used to secure an early warning about a weakening in safety-critical barrier elements.
The PSA is of the opinion that the quality of information applied in managing major accident risk is also a question of what overview the players have of their own business, and thereby a question of the players’ own control. The PSA assumes that managing major accident risk cannot be outsourced. In light of the DwH accident, it could be relevant for the companies to review the processes intended to provide the necessary information about the business, assess in part how these processes support a culture of accountability and how various management and audit functions, third-party verifications and so forth contribute in this connection.


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PSA release and link to report:

The direct cause of the incident was that the container being lifted began swinging too much and got caught up in another container. A deck worker standing in an unsecured area was struck and injured.

This incident could potentially have killed the person concerned. Substantial material damage could also have been caused.

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PSA has posted the Gullfaks B gas release report in English.  Also posted is the report on a lifting incident at Njord A.  The reports are comprehensive and timely.

The gas leak occurred during leak testing after maintenance work on a production well. The gas derived from a volume trapped between the downhole safety valve and the Xmas tree. It proved impossible to operate the emergency shutdown valves on the well. The leak lasted about an hour, with an initial rate of 1.3 kilograms of gas per second. The volume of gas released is estimated at about 800 kilograms.
No people were injured in the incident, but the leak created a serious position on the installation.

Gas Cloud - Gullfaks B

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When an investigation has been completed and corrective action is necessary, the PSA (Norway) approach is to make the operator take ownership of the problem. The operator is directed to develop solutions and implementation schedules that are acceptable to the regulator. See the PSA directive to Statoil below following the investigation of the Gullfaks B gas release.

In contrast, there is a tendency in the US for the regulator to take ownership of the problem and thus assume responsibility for developing solutions. The regulator dictates these solutions to the operator (and perhaps the entire industry), sometimes without sufficient discussion or analysis. Of course, US regulators may not have a choice in the matter as the political system often demands that the regulator take action, perhaps before the investigation is even completed (or started!).

Which approach presents the greater opportunity for success? Most regulators would say the former, and that was the consensus view at the International Regulators’ Offshore Safety Conference in Vancouver.

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The PSA established a project team on 7 May 2010 with some 20 members drawn from relevant disciplines to follow up the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Its overall goal is to systematise and assess experience and investigations in the wake of this incident, so that appropriate lessons can contribute to learning and improvement on the NCS.

The project will identify areas where enhancements can be made to the requirements in Norway’s regulations and/or other types of measures related to Norwegian petroleum operations. PSA.no

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Magne Ognedal

It’s impossible to inspect quality into the petroleum industry.  The latter must itself ensure quality. Magne Ognedal, Director General, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway

More thoughts from Magne:

Understanding risk is central here. We must all recognise first and foremost that the petroleum industry involves risk – just like any other activity.

However, accepting risk does not mean accepting accidents, he emphasises. “Quite the contrary. But we must constantly remind ourselves that accidents have happened – and can happen again.

“The risk of a major accident is present, in Norway and in all other nations with an oil and gas industry. This means that incidents will occur.

“Risk must accordingly be managed, with clear management responsibility, at every level and in every company which participates in the industry.”

Preventive measures can be a challenge, Mr Ognedal concedes, because they require that action is taken – often at a cost – without a disaster or other accident having occurred.

“However, history offers many examples where extensive measures are adopted after disasters. Companies in the petroleum business should consciously ask whether it would not be far better to have an established system which means that preventive measures based on learning, new technology and so forth are implemented, in order to be able to prevent accidents and disasters.

PSA Announcement

Safety – Status and Signals: This is a great publication – highly creative,  easy to read and understand, very current, and loaded with good information. Check it out!

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Valhall Field with new PH facility (from psa.no)

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has consented to BP Norge’s use of the new Valhall PH platform as a living quarters facility.

BP will use the living quarters module on Valhall PH until the entire facility is ready for start-up/use. This will provide greater bed capacity and flexibility during the preparations for start-up.

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