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Audit - area preparedness Troll/Oseberg - West Venture

On 21 January 2004, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit on the mobile installation West Venture (pictured) which is currently drilling for Norsk Hydro. The audit was part of an overall audit activity vis-a-vis several of Norsk Hydro AS' and Statoil ASA's installations in the Troll/Oseberg area.

Results from our audit activities on Norsk Hydro's installations Oseberg Field Center, Oseberg C and Troll B have been published on our web pages. (Link >>)

Results from our audit activities on the Statoil installations Troll A and Huldra/Veslefrikk will shortly be published on our web pages.

The audit on West Venture began with a start-up meeting with the management on board and the senior safety delegate.

Interviews and discussions were then conducted with the management, the safety delegates and professionals.

The audit also included an emergency preparedness drill.

Norsk Hydro's good facilitation of the audit activity and a good climate of cooperation both in the land organizations and on board the installations, contributed to the good practical implementation of the audit.

Each installation is discussed in a separate audit report.

Background for the audit

The background for the audit is that NH received approval for a change in the consent for use of the installation West Venture on 1 October 2002. The change concerned the introduction of area preparedness on the Troll/Oseberg field.

The audit was mainly based on Sections 29 and 30 of the Framework Regulations and Chs. VI-II on competence and Ch. XI on emergency preparedness of the Activity Regulations.

Reference is also made to the approval for a change in the consent for use, which presupposed a trial period with the following conditions:

  • A two-year trial period
  • A verification program for the installation must be carried out during the trial period in order to confirm that the requirements in the area preparedness plan as well as the installations' specific preparedness requirements are fulfilled.
  • The company's evaluation of the trial period results must be presented to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (PSA) before the end of the period.
  • Both the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (PSA) and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority will conduct audits during the trial period.

In addition, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate made it a condition that each installation is responsible for maintaining a level of preparedness that satisfies the regulatory requirements at all times.

The purpose of the audit

The goal of the audit was to see how NH makes sure that emergency preparedness plans and related measures in the company comply with the current regulations, focusing particularly on Sections 29 and 30 (on co-ordination and co-operation on emergency preparedness) of the Framework Regulations, Section 15 (verification) and Section 38 (monitoring of safety zones) of the Framework Regulations, Section 11 of the Management Regulations on manning and competence, Section 64 of the Activity Regulations on establishing emergency preparedness, Section 68 of the Activity Regulations on handling of situations of hazard and accident, Section 40 of the Facilities Regulations on equipment for rescue of personnel and Section 43 of the Facilities Regulations on means of evacuation, and Section 11 of the Information Duty Regulations on alert and notification to the supervisory authorities of situations of hazard and accident.

Some key subjects reviewed during the audit were the establishment of area preparedness including SAR helicopter, standby vessels, follow-up and further development of management systems for emergency preparedness, preparedness plans and systems for maintenance of evacuation and rescue equipment, preparedness drills, the competence of response personnel and requirements for the preparedness organization.

The result of the audit

The audit did not uncover any matters on West Venture that will lead to a notification of order.

However, observations were made on some matters where the PSA would say there is room for improvement.

The main impression from the audit is that West Venture demonstrated a robust emergency preparedness organization, but that there is still room for improvement in some preparedness-related matters on board.

The audit's main emphasis was on matters related to the area resources, but other preparedness-related matters on West Venture were also considered. This means that not all observations that were done can be linked directly to the area preparedness on Troll/Oseberg.

West Venture has a good system for registration of drills conducted.

No member of the platform management knows the planned drill scenario. Everyone can provide input regarding the drill scenario.

However, the opportunities for active use of the SAR helicopter when a ship is on a collision course, should be reviewed.

The man-overboard drills seem to comply with the regulatory requirements. A preparedness drill involving the standby vessel Havila Troll (pictured) was conducted during our visit.

Photo: Norsk Hydro

There was satisfactory coordination between the installation and the vessel.


  • The audit on West Venture uncovered one deviation in the competence of the response teams.

Improvement potential

  • To some extent, the preparedness organization is made up with incompatible tasks.
  • The audit did not find any traceable system for regular transfer of experience between the operator companies Statoil and NH with regard to the daily operation of area preparedness on the Troll/Oseberg fields, apart from the meetings in the management committee.

The PSA's follow-up

Contact person in the PSA:
Mike Theiss