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Audit of area emergency preparedness on Haltenbanken - Njord

On 13 August and during the period 27-29 August 2003 The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) conducted an audit of Norsk Hydro concerning the area emergency preparedness on Halten/Nordland, including Njord A (photo) and B. The activity was part of a series of audits of several players in the area.


Background for the audit

The background for the audit is that Njord was granted consent for a change in the Consent for Use that had been granted for the Njord A and B installations on 7 March 2002. The change involved the introduction of area emergency preparedness on Haltenbanken.
The consent was granted for a trial period of two years on the following conditions:

  • A verification program for the relevant installation must be implemented during the trial period in order to confirm that the requirements in the area preparedness plan, as well as the installation's specific requirements for emergency preparedness, are complied with.

  • The company's assessment of the trial period results must be submitted to the NPD before the end of the trial period.

  • The authorities, represented by the NPD and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, will be conducting audits during the trial period.

In addition, the NPD makes it a precondition that each installation makes sure their level of emergency preparedness satisfies the regulatory requirements at all times.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify that the area emergency preparedness, which includes a new SAR helicopter and a new standby vessel, as well as follow-up and further development of management systems for emergency preparedness, is established in accordance with the regulatory requirements and consents granted.

The NPD also focused on emergency preparedness plans and drills/table top, the response personnel's expertise and requirements for the emergency preparedness organization, in order to provide an overall view of how each installation in the area safeguards its emergency preparedness.

Result of the audit

The audit uncovered no serious problems that could lead to a notification of order.

The main impression is nevertheless that there is room for improvement in some matters related to emergency preparedness.

The audit looked mainly at issues related to the area resources, but other emergency preparedness issues on Njord were also touched on.

This means that some of the observations made cannot be linked directly to the area emergency preparedness on Halten/Nordland.
Some observations gave the impression that joint exercises and drills involving the area resources have been deficient.

It transpired during the audit that there was no system offshore for transfer of experience between the installations. Similarly, we discovered a weakness in the system for transfer of experience between the operating organizations on land.

Twenty-one MOB boat drills have been conducted on Njord so far this year under various weather conditions. The NPD regards this as good and in accordance with what should be expected of a robust MOB boat preparedness.

The NPD has made other observations where we feel Hydro has a potential for improvement. This applies to the operating organization with regard to follow-up of other participant (Statoil as resource operator).