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AoC verification of Rowan Gorilla VI - drilling systems

From 8 September to 10 September 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of drilling systems on board the mobile drilling facility Rowan Gorilla VI (RG6). During the audit, two non-conformities in relation to the regulatory requirements and two potential improvement items were identified.

Rowan Gorilla VI
Rowan Gorilla VI

Background for the audit
RG6 is a jack-up mobile drilling facility. Rowan Drilling (Rowan) has applied for an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) for the facility in order to carry out assignments on the Norwegian Shelf, with scheduled start-up this year.

The audit of the drilling systems is part of our administrative process of the application.

The audit on board the RG6 was carried out while the facility was moored at a shipyard in Dundee, UK, for five-year classification and various upgrades.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit activities was to verify that relevant regulatory requirements had been met, and to confirm that the company's management systems on board the facility were in place before drilling activities will commence on the Norwegian Shelf.

Result of the audit
The audit of the facility was based on spot checks to assess whether the equipment was in accordance with the Norwegian regulatory requirements and as accounted for in the AoC application.

Our general impression is that Rowan has made substantial progress in the drilling area as compared with the findings of our previous verifications in December 2007.

One concern related to the drilling activities which have been scheduled for the Norwegian Shelf, is the large amounts of new equipment which must be installed, adapted to other equipment and tested before the planned start-up of drilling activities.

The documentation related to the new equipment and the handling thereof, its implications with regard to necessary updating of the management system, and the training of employees - both of individuals and the collective expertise - is a challenge in this regard.

During the verifications on board we identified two non-conformities in relation to regulatory requirements: absent marking of the safety zone on the drilling deck for protection during pipe handling and the extensive use of manual valves in drilling fluid systems and in the bulk storage facilities.

Two potential improvement items were also identified.