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Audit of barriers of the production facility on Petrojarl Varg

During the period 6 to 9 June 2005 we carried out an audit of PGS Production's (PGS) attendance to technical and operational barriers in the production facility on Petrojarl Varg. Our overall impression is that Petrojarl Varg is in good technical condition, and that the facility is well-maintained.


Petrojarl VargThe audit started with a meeting with the onshore organization on 6 June in which PGS presented topics in accordance with our letter notifying PGS of the audit, dated 13 May. After that, the audit was carried out on board the Petrojarl Varg (photo) 7 to 9 June.

Background for the audit

There have been a number of undesirable incidents in recent years with a high potential for accidents. The incidents have been the consequence of deficient planning and execution of tasks. Some of the central operational barriers have failed.

In this audit we wished to assess whether PGS has full control of the technical and operational barriers, and to see whether they have good systems and routines that may be transferable to others.

On 1 July 2002 we sent a letter to the industry in which we inquired how the barrier requirements in the new regulatory framework were being followed up. The letter constituted part of the substantiating case papers in this audit.

Purpose of the audit

The objective of the audit was to gain insight into how PGS identifies barrier needs, and establishes, maintains and further develops the barriers that are necessary to ensure an acceptable level of safety in operations and maintenance of the production facility on Varg.

One of the goals was to assess whether PGS's follow-up of the technical and operational barriers is in accordance with regulations. Another goal was to raise the general level of understanding of the barrier concept.

In this context, technical barriers means built-in safety and technical safety systems such as emergency shut-down (ESD), fire and gas detection (F&G detection), fire extinguishing systems, emergency power, etc.

The term operational barriers denotes the systems for maintenance administration and work permits, qualifications, routines for blinding and insulation, maintaining correct operational documents, routines for safe job analyses (SJA) and pre-job talks, inhibition logs, etc.

A further objective was to look at how the facility is being operated in relation to its design criteria, and whether safety premises from design have been carried followed through into the operating phase.

As part of the management loop, we also looked at how measures for improvement were identified and implemented, for instance in connection with undesirable incidents, as well as with operations and maintenance.

Result of the audit

The audit was carried out as planned, well facilitated by PGS. The conversations and verifications were carried out in an open and productive manner. We received the impression that the employees were familiar with the barrier concept, and that they understood the meaning of the terms technical and operational barriers.

Our main impression is that the Petrojarl Varg is in good technical condition and that the facility is well-maintained.

The personnel on Petrojarl Varg appear committed to their work, and are involved in the work being carried out on the facility.

In the category of deviations we observed the following:

  • inadequate implementation and follow-up of the quality assurance plan for 2004

  • inadequate insulation / blinding of work on pressurized systems

  • inadequate implementation of ESD full-scale functional test

  • inadequate deviation handling

We have also noted matters with potential for improvement, and noticed individual matters on which we want feedback, or matters that we want followed up in greater detail.

Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss