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Barrier audit – Statfjord B

During the period 2-4 February 2011, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) carried out an audit of selected technical and operational barriers in the process facility on Statfjord B. The audit is part of the processing in connection with the application for extended lifetime for Statfjord B.

Safety-critical barriers must be maintained in a comprehensive and consistent manner so the risk of major accidents is reduced as much as possible.

A barrier can be considered a function which prevents or influences a concrete course of events in a deliberate direction by limiting damage and/or loss. The term function refers to the barrier’s task or role, for example, preventing leaks or preventing spread.

One of the PSA’s main priorities is maintenance of technical and operational barriers. The PSA is aware that the players have implemented regulatory requirements relating to barriers to varying degrees, at least as regards the intention. Deficiencies and impairments in one or more barrier elements’ performance is a general causal factor in incidents.

Strategies and processes for making barriers robust in the various phases of a facility’s life cycle have developed in different directions and have different maturity levels. There is a need to highlight common denominators and complementary properties between the barrier elements’ condition and performance, operational and maintenance management, and risk management.

The industry must be able to describe and implement work processes, and the individual elements in these processes, for barrier management in a lifetime perspective through:

The objective of this activity was to assess how Statoil at Statfjord B safeguards maintenance of a selection of these key conditions.

The audit was carried out as planned, with good facilitation by Statoil. The conversations were held in an open and good manner, and the participants were prepared, thoughtful and gave a technically-sound and good impression.

No nonconformities were identified during the audit. Three improvement items were identified related to inadequate strategy for follow-up of barriers, inadequate description of roles and inadequate overview of barrier status.