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Safety barriers must be maintained in an integrated and consistent manner in order to minimise risk.

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Safety barriers must be maintained in an integrated and consistent manner in order to minimise risk. Failure or weakening of barriers is often a cause of undesirable incidents in the petroleum sector.

Constant challenges are faced in relation to well integrity, gas leaks, and aging installations and plants. 

At the same time, players vary in how far they have implemented the regulatory requirements on barriers. Improving the robustness of barriers in the various phases of a facility’s life cycle has developed in different directions and has reached differing levels of maturity.
Efficient barrier management is also being compromised because players have an unclear gasp of the original design base.
The industry must:
  • ensure robust technical, operational and organisational barriers. This is crucial for preventing accidents and reducing risk.

We in the PSA see a need for better understanding of the interaction between operational, organisational and technical elements in barriers.

It is also important to strengthen understanding of the relationship between managing risk and barrier management.

We in the PSA will:
  • follow up the industry’s work during 2013 to clarify relationships between risk assessments, barrier strategies and barrier performance, and to ensure that barrier performance is being monitored throughout the producing life of installations
  • check efforts to clarify relationships between managing risk and barrier management, and to identify and give weight to operational, organisational and technical barrier elements and their role in the risk picture.
  • help to strengthen the industry’s work on extending producing life, and contribute to industry-level collaboration and experience transfer between the players.

Principles for barrier management in the petroleum industry
We have produced a document on barrier management in order to explain how we relate the requirements in Norway’s petroleum regulations and guideline texts to the content of relevant standards. However, this document does not form part of the formal petroleum regulations.

An updated version has been published following consultation with companies and unions in the industry.