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Report following audit of emergency preparedness – Valhall PH

During the period 10-12 and 19-21 May 2010, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) carried out an audit of the Valhall PH facility. The audit identified one non-conformity relating to marking on the helicopter deck and three improvement items relating to evacuation routes.

The audit activity was performed during the periods 10-12 May 2010 (living quarters module and helicopter deck, Lowestoft, UK) and 19-21 May 2010 (process module, Zwijndrect, Holland).

The audit of the helicopter deck was carried out with assistance from the Civil Aviation Authority – Norway (CAA), and was directed toward the technical solutions for the helicopter deck and emergency preparedness. The activities were performed through verifications on board the living quarters module, the process module and the helicopter deck.

The audit was associated with BP's upcoming application for consent to use Valhall PH. The living quarters module and helicopter deck are being built at the shipyard in Lowestoft in the UK, while the process module is being built at the Heerema shipyard in Zwijndrect in Holland.

According to plan, Valhall PH will commence activities on the Norwegian shelf in 2011.

The goal of the audit was to identify how BP safeguards regulatory requirements in connection with design and fabrication of Valhall PH. The audit was carried out to verify that the facility is being built in accordance with relevant regulatory requirements within emergency preparedness.

The progress on the living quarters and helicopter deck was less than what the PSA and CAA had expected. The CAA could therefore not carry out a complete audit of the helicopter deck. Neither could the PSA carry out a complete audit of the living quarters, as it appeared to be incomplete.

During the audit, we identified one non-conformity relating to marking on the helicopter deck. Additionally, we identified three improvement items, which are related to evacuation routes.

Our general impression is that there are good solutions in several areas, and that experiences from other projects have been utilised in addition to good user participation.

As regards the process module, the evacuation routes are generally narrow with vertical and horizontal obstructions in several places, but we also observed some wide, straight evacuation routes.


Confusion as regards the drawing of the helicopter deck and the physical placement of the Chevron on the helicopter deck

The physical marking of the helicopter deck indicates that the chevron is rotated. The drawing shows eight degrees, but it is unclear how this is done, and whether the obstruction-free zone is still 210 degrees. The "H" on the helicopter deck is not correctly oriented in relation to the chevron.

Improvement items

Evacuation routes
Valve handwheels, valve handles and other obstructions are protruding into the evacuation routes.

We observed several obstructions in the evacuation routes, both horizontally and vertically. These can make it difficult to transport an injured person on a stretcher, or to manoeuvre with smoke diver equipment.

Stairway width in evacuation routes
We observed different stairway widths.

Different stairway widths were observed several places in the process area. The narrow stairways can make it difficult to transport an injured person on a stretcher, or to manoeuvre with smoke diver equipment.

Doors to switchboard room
Doors to the switchboard room open toward electric switchboards.

We observed several places where doors open toward electric switchboards. The rooms are small, and a person working on the switchboards could be struck by the door when it is opened.

Other comments:

The PSA is aware that BP has plans for and focus on improving evacuation routes. At the time of this report, the PSA has not received the audit report from the Civil Aviation Authority. This will be forwarded.

Øyvind Midttun, press contact
Email: oyvind.midttun@ptil.no | +47 51 87 34 77