In consultation with the Safety Forum, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has initiated two commitment areas with a clear potential for HSE improvement: Well integrity and mooring are among the largest contributors to major accident potential, and will require particular focus and concrete measures in the future.
General experience from supervisory activities and the Risk Level Project form the basis for designating areas with a clear need for follow-up, both on the part of the petroleum industry and the authorities.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of serious incidents related to mooring systems. The Risk Level Project also shows an increase in 2006, both in relation to deployment of anchor chains and mooring line breaks
The PSA sees a need for a general raising of standards in the industry and challenges the Norwegian Shipowners' Association to frame goals and implement activities that show a measurable improvement.
A summary submitted by the PSA in 2005 illustrates that mooring incidents are caused by deficient organisation of work and responsibility, deficient training of involved personnel and technical equipment failure. Raising the quality of training and competence, plus an increased understanding of the importance of the individual's work, are crucial factors for improvement. Better systems for follow-up and operations, and a more active attitude towards verification of services performed by sub-suppliers, are also necessary.
Every fifth well that the PSA has examined in a comprehensive study (2006) shows uncertainty and impairments in well integrity. The study reveals inter alia that injection wells and wells drilled in the 1990s are overrepresented in relation to impairments in well integrity.
This has consequences for both safety and the recovery rate/economy. The PSA sees a need for a far better total overview of the health condition of the wells on the Norwegian Shelf. Such an overview will also be necessary in order to implement improvement measures.
In today's Risk Level Project, the follow-up of well integrity is limited to the periods when there are operations in the well - in the actual drilling phase or in connection with well maintenance and intervention.
A constructive collaboration with the industry has already been started, where inter alia the need is to develop indicators that cover the entire lifetime of the well in a better manner. All in all, this will provide a far better basis on which to evaluate safety in the wells.
Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Inger Anda, press spokesperson
Phone: +47 970 54 064