The Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) awards production licenses and designates operating companies on the Norwegian shelf.
The role of the PSA is to carry out an evaluation of health, safety and environment factors to determine the potential for compliance with the HSE regulations; and to provide a recommendation to the Ministry.
Production licences give both the right and the obligation to carry out exploration drilling, but the PSA must in any event grant its consent for the specific drilling activities.
In connection with development of new fields and any associated pipeline facilities, the licensees must submit a Plan for Development and Operation (PDO) – or alternatively, a Plan for Installation and Operation (PIO).
The MPD coordinates the consideration process for these plans, which are then approved by the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) or the Ministry, depending on the size of the investments. The PSA has regulatory responsibility for determining whether the plan contains any hindrance which could prevent implementation of the activities in accordance with regulatory requirements. (Relevant article: "The environment is best protected through prevention").
A discovery attains status as a field, or is incorporated into an existing field, when the Plan for Development and Operation is approved by the authorities. The operator must have the consent of the PSA before an installation or parts thereof can be put to use.
Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) and new builds
Mobile facilities in the petroleum activities must have an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) issued by the PSA. This applies to drilling facilities, facilities for living quarters (flotels), facilities for production, storage and offloading (FPSOs), facilities for drilling, production, storage and offloading (FPDSOs), as well as well intervention facilities.
The AoC is a statement confirming that the technical condition of the mobile facility, the applicant's organisation and management systems, have all been considered and deemed to be in compliance with relevant requirements in the Norwegian shelf regulations. The purpose of the AoC scheme is to contribute to better predictability and increased accountability on the part of the players in the industry.
The scheme will also facilitate efficient processes for applicants, operating companies and the authorities in connection with applications for consent regarding petroleum activities.
An AoC does not give the right to carry out petroleum activities per se, but does have significance as a basis of documentation in connection with subsequent consideration by the authorities, particularly for that part of an application for consent that deals with specific factors for the facility in question.
Guidance and advice make up an important part of the supervision. In this sense, the PSA plays a role in the preparatory AoC phase, and emphasises dialogue with companies that are building facilities with the ability to operate on the Norwegian shelf.
An AoC is granted on the basis of the authorities' assessment of the condition of the facility, measured in relation to the regulations that apply for use of mobile facilities at the time when the statement is issued.