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HSE management: Systematising risk

Prudent operation in the far north must be based on taking care of relevant uncertainties and risk factors. The PSA is now assessing whether blowout risk must be addressed from an area perspective.


photo of Ole J Melleby
Ole Jørgen Melleby, head of the HSE management discipline

The HSE management discipline at the PSA works with issues related to managing health, safety and environmental aspects of the petroleum industry – with a focus on major accident risk. Its activities are directed at the management and economics of safety, maintenance management and acute discharges.

A common denominator is that other PSA disciplines also work on or contribute to these issues. The HSE management discipline is responsible for coordinating such activities in relation to top management in the companies.

Risk management involves relating to and dealing with uncertainty in an appropriate way. Petroleum operations in the far north pose great uncertainties linked to such risk influences as weather and climate, icing and drift ice.

The PSA’s annual review of acute risk in its RNNP survey monitors developments for discharges on the NCS as a whole. However, base data for the Barents Sea are limited. To improve understanding of risk and uncertainty across activities over time and in wider geographic areas, the PSA is now working on a new method for assessing blowout risk.

This solution is meant to be applied in an area perspective, says Ole Jørgen Melleby, head of the HSE management discipline. It will initially be tested in the Barents Sea.

“Being able to assess risk in a specific region is also important because major accident risk will be influenced by factors which vary from area to area,” he explains.

“Greater knowledge reduces uncertainty and risk, and thereby benefits the whole industry. But blowout risk is associated with uncertainty, debate and opposing views.

“So we need a better starting point as a basis for technical evaluation and discussion. The industry must make a contribution here.”