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Audit – ChevronTexaco Norge A/S as licensee

During October-November 2003, we conducted an audit of how ChevronTexaco Norge (CVX) as a licensee safeguards its obligations under the HSE regulations.

The audit included a kick-off meeting with CVX on 21 October 2003 in which we presented our expectations for the licensee role in relation to the HSE regulations, followed by a system verification at CVX on 26 November 2003.

Background for the audit

According to the regulations, the licensees shall facilitate matters so that the operators can safeguard their responsibility to conduct prudent and efficient operations in the area of health, safety and the environment (HSE).

All licensees have a duty to exercise their management rights as a licensee and actively involve themselves in the important work of achieving positive trends as regards health, safety and the working environment on the Norwegian shelf.

Traditionally, licensees have not been subject to significant audit activities by the authorities.

However, the licensees in a production license are responsible for long-term planning and allocation of funds in the production license, and thereby set clear expectations for HSE efforts.

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), now the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), has stated that it intends to follow up licensees to a greater extent to ensure that they comply with their HSE responsibilities in the various production licenses, both individually and as a group. The NPD established an audit project in the spring of 2002 as a step in this follow-up process.

Three audits have been conducted. These have been aimed at established production licenses. The main focus of the audits has been how the licensees handle their obligations, both individually and as licensee groups.

The objective is to develop and implement audit tasks aimed at one or more licensees, where the licensees are the obligated parties in relation to the regulatory requirements.

Purpose of the audit

The activity is to confirm the degree to which the licensees comply with their supervision obligation, form a picture of the impact they have when exercising this obligation, how the licensee develops management systems to safeguard its duties, and to highlight any areas in need of improvement.

Result of the audit

CVX had provided for a smooth implementation of the audit.

CVX began by presenting the company's history in Norway, with particular emphasis on its activities since the company returned to Norway in 1997-1998.

CVX expressed a clear goal of becoming a larger player on the Norwegian shelf.

The rest of the presentation provided a good general description of CVX' management system.

CVX has a good overarching corporate management system which is logical and consistent, from the international corporation level down to the Norwegian company.

The licensee role was then reviewed with a basis in practical examples from production licenses where CVX is a partner.

The PSA has a positive impression of the audit. CVX has established a management system which includes HSE as an integrated part. CVX takes its supervision obligation seriously, although the degree of involvement was to some extent dependent on how much influence the company had in the production license.

CVX could refer to several good examples of proactive cooperation with the operator.

In certain of the production licenses we reviewed, CVX could perhaps take on a more proactive role as regards ensuring that the operator's management system functions as intended, particularly to assure itself that it receives all the important information it is entitled to from the operator.

CVX showed several good examples of using and involving personnel from other parts of the international organization.

CVX could also point to several examples of active HSE involvement in production licenses which are in the early exploration stages.

In connection with the review of the management system, the document control system appeared to be somewhat fragmented. CVX itself believes that the company has a potential for improvement here and plans to carry out such improvement have been initiated.

CVX' overall expertise and capacity, composed of its own resources (both domestic and international) and from its network of consultants, seems to be adapted to the company's portfolio of licenses and tasks.

Contact person in the PSA:
Mike Theiss