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Report and follow-up of audit of E.on Ruhrgas Norge's (ERN's) planning for drilling a well

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has carried out an audit of E.on Ruhrgas Norge's (ERN's) planning for drilling well 31/8-1 (Breiflabb) in production licence 416 with Borgland Dolphin. The report contains nonconformities that are of such a character that the PSA questions the company's management of health, safety and the environment in the preparations for this exploration activity.


ERN participates in a consortium with other companies for the use of Borgland Dolphin. These companies have cooperated on rig acceptance, including audits and verifications.

Background for the audit
The PSA prioritises carrying out audits of new players and their first drilling operations on the Norwegian shelf with the objective of assessing the players' management of HSE in relation to their organisation and management system, as well as technical and operational capacity and expertise.

In the notification regarding the audit, which was carried out on 16 May at the company’s offices in Stavanger, the PSA laid out an agenda for the audit, and the company gave its presentations in accordance therewith.

During the audit, verifications of the company's activities in relation to its management system became key topics.

Objective
The objective of the audit was to inspect the company's compliance with requirements for management of health, safety and the environment in planning and implementation of the drilling operation with Borgland Dolphin.

Result
During the audit, we discovered that ERN had deficient management of activities related to preparations for the drilling operation. The nonconformities warrant questioning whether the planning of the upcoming drilling operation has been prudent.

The identified nonconformities are:

  • There was deficient use of the management system in the planning of the drilling operation.
  • Activities in the 2010 audit plan had not been carried out, and activities for 2011/Q1 had not been carried out according to plan.
  • During the audit, the company could not document or explain how the nonconformities at the time when the rig was accepted had been handled.
  • The company demonstrated a lack of familiarity with the status of audits and verifications needed to use Borgland Dolphin.

The PSA's follow-up
The nonconformities identified are related to basic preconditions to safeguarding the role of operator on the Norwegian shelf through establishing and using a management system in its activities.

These are requirements that are also essential for the licensee role, a task the company was awarded as early as 2003. ERN was qualified as an operator in 2006, and has thus had ample time to develop an organisation and management system for relevant operator tasks.

Through the audit, the PSA has registered conflicting statements on behalf of the company regarding use of its management system during planning of well 31/8-1 Breiflabb. We cannot see that the uncertainty this entails has been eliminated through the subsequent communication with ERN.

In a letter sent 1 June 2011 (see link in right column), we have therefore requested that the company to carry out a new, comprehensive review of its compliance with the management system in the planning process for Breiflabb.

In addition to submitting the report and conclusion to the PSA, we request that the other licensees also be involved in this work.