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Audit of area emergency preparedness in the Southern Field Alliance - BP

During the period 18 October - 5 November 2004 the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an overall audit of Talisman AS (TENAS), BP Norway AS and ConocoPhillips (COPSAS) in connection with the area emergency preparedness on the southern fields in the North Sea. In the case of BP this relates to Valhall.

The audit started with meetings with the respective companies' operations organisations in Stavanger on 18 and 19 October 2004. In the meetings with the operations organisation, the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) participated together with the PSA. Furthermore, the SFT held their own verification meetings with the three operators on 20 October 2004.

Valhall (source: BP)Good facilitation by BP and close cooperation both with the onshore organisation and on board the facilities contributed to a successful practical implementation.

Each facility will be dealt with in separate audit reports, whereas the Stavanger meeting will mainly be covered in this report.

Background for the audit

The background for the audit consists of a series of audits aimed at the area emergency preparedness on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Similar audits have previously been aimed at the area emergency preparedness at Halten Nordland and in the Troll Oseberg area.

The audit has been conducted in accordance with the following regulations with interpretations: Section 29 of the Framework Regulations relating to coordination of emergency preparedness, Section 30 relating to emergency preparedness cooperation, Section 15 of the Management Regulations relating to quantitative risks and emergency preparedness analyses, Sections 20, 21 and 22 relating to handling of non-conformities, follow-up and improvement.

Sections 40, 42 and 43 of the Facilities Regulations relating to equipment for rescue of personnel, standby vessels and means of evacuation. Section 21 of the Activities Regulations relating to practice and exercises, Section 64 relating to the establishment of emergency preparedness, Section 65 relating to joint use of emergency preparedness resources, Section 66 relating to emergency preparedness organisations and Section 67 relating to emergency preparedness plans; as well as OLF guideline no. 64 relating to the establishment of area emergency preparedness.

With regard to SFT's audit scope, plans and legal basis, we refer to SFT's separate report.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to examine how BP ensures that the company's emergency preparedness plans and measures are in accordance with the current regulatory requirements, with particular emphasis on Sections 29 and 30 of the Framework Regulations relating to coordination of and cooperation on emergency preparedness.

Important topics reviewed in the audit included the establishment of area emergency preparedness which includes SAR helicopters, standby vessels, follow-up and further development of emergency preparedness management systems, emergency preparedness plans and systems for maintenance of evacuation and rescue equipment, emergency preparedness drills, response personnel expertise and emergency preparedness organisation requirements.

Furthermore, the PSA has reviewed the coordination and follow-up of joint area resources.

Results of the audit

The audit did not discover any serious circumstances that would result in a notification of order.

Our main impression subsequent to the audit is that there is room for improvement of certain aspects relating to the emergency preparedness onboard Valhall and relating to aspects of the area emergency contingency.

The main focus of the audit was on aspects related to area resources. However, other circumstances related to the emergency preparedness were also addressed briefly. This means that not all of the observations that were made can be linked directly to the emergency preparedness in the Southern Field Alliance.

During the audit a drill was conducted with a DFU "Helicopter crash within the 500 metre zone." The drill included the use of area resources, including SAR helicopters. The PSA is greatly satisfied with the way the drill was conducted.

Conditions with potential for improvement were identified and we requested that BP clarify these.

For Valhall:

  • Knowledge of performance requirements and requirements related to training and drills related to MOB vessel preparedness.

  • Implementation of training and drills with a focus on stand-in functions.

  • Updating of the emergency response plan on board.

  • Information on new DFU "extreme weather."

  • Knowledge of coordination document.

  • Signposting and painting.

  • Knowledge of emergency preparedness resources capacity.


For the area emergency contingency:

  • Transfer of experience after drills and incidents.

  • Capacity evaluation for resources connected to the area emergency preparedness.

  • The terms of reference for the management group.

Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss