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Audit of Aker Spitsbergen: Cranes and lifting, emergency preparedness and helicopter operations

Audit: The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit in week 38 of the conditions and equipment related to cranes and lifting, emergency preparedness and helicopters on Aker Spitsbergen. The audit is part of the processing of the application submitted for an Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) for the mobile drilling facility Aker Spitsbergen.


The audit targeted both technical and managerial aspects for these disciplines, and was conducted at the construction yard on Stord. The audit consisted of reviews of submitted documentation, interviews of personnel in the operating organisation as well as verifications on board the facility.

Background for the audit
Aker Drilling Operation AS has applied to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway for an AoC for the dynamically positioned drilling facility Aker Spitsbergen (pictured). The company has entered into a long-term contract with StatoilHydro for use of the facility on the Norwegian Continental Shelf with activity mainly on the Åsgard, Norne and Heidrun licences.

Aker Spitsbergen (source: Aker)

Aker Drilling has the Aker Spitsbergen and Aker Barents drilling facilities under construction at Aker Solutions' yard on Stord. The company was established in 2005 and Aker Spitsbergen is the company's the first facility to undergo commissioning.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify that management and technical aspects within the relevant technical disciplines are safeguarded in accordance with regulatory requirements. The company's own compliance measurements were used as a basis for the verifications.

Result of the audit

Cranes and lifting
Certification of permanently installed lifting appliances was not completed, and consequently there was no basis for review of the documentation. One nonconformity was identified regarding blind zones, and four potential improvements areas as regards installation of facilities for protection of equipment in the lifting space and preventive supervision of lifting beams and lifting equipment against unintended movements.

Emergency preparedness and helicopter operations
Potential improvement areas and nonconformities have been identified on the helideck, among these were issues related to an obstacle-free approach and departure sector. As regards the specific discipline emergency preparedness, so far only potential improvement  areas have been identified.

Certain matters can only be verified when the  facility approaches completion, and a new audit will be conducted later this year.  For example, much of the rescue and firefighting equipment had not yet been installed on the facility.  Improvement areas have been identified for aspects related to training, the location of fire stations, and storage of rescue equipment.