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Audit of ConocoPhillips – emergency preparedness on the Ekofisk complex

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has conducted an audit of ConocoPhillips aimed at emergency preparedness on the Ekofisk complex. The audit revealed two nonconformities in relation to regulatory requirements. Several improvement items were also identified.


During the period from 10 – 18 September 2009, the PSA conducted an audit at ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS (COPSAS) and on board the facilities that are part of the Ekofisk complex.

The activity targeted the area of technical preparedness, with emphasis on the facilities' emergency response equipment, means of evacuation, the emergency response organisation, competence of personnel compared with emergency response tasks, and systems for following up and learning from incidents.

The audit activity was carried out from 10 September to 18 September 2009 and was implemented by means of document reviews, presentations, interviews, conversations and verifications.

The audit was kicked off with a meeting on land on 10 September 2009, with a presentation of relevant management systems for emergency preparedness. The activities on Ekofisk included the start-up meeting, interviews, conversations and verifications with supervisors, technical personnel, members of the response teams and the safety delegate service.

An emergency exercise, an MOB boat exercise and inspections were also held on the 2/4-FTP, 2/4-Q, 2/4-J and 2/4-M facilities. A summary meeting was conducted after the activity on board the facilities was concluded. A meeting was also held at COPSAS in Tananger on 18 September 2009 to verify findings made during the visit to Ekofisk.

The objective of the audit was to verify that COPSAS safeguards emergency preparedness aspects on the Ekofisk complex in accordance with regulatory requirements, including organising and providing for its own emergency response organisation, means of evacuation, maintenance of emergency response equipment and maintenance of the personnel's competence in relation to the emergency response tasks they perform. The system for following up and learning from incidents was also verified during the audit.

During the audit we uncovered nonconformities in relation to regulatory requirements for competence and training of personnel in emergency teams. Nonconformities were also identified in relation to requirements for procedures and implementation of procedures for extreme weather situations on the Ekofisk complex. Improvement items were identified within the area of exercises in which the participants are to be unaware of the content and timing of such exercises, identification and training in the deputy function, and signposting and marking on the facilities. Some of the factors covered by this audit were also noted during audits in 2004 and 2006.

Our general impression is that the facilities are orderly, with good access to the evacuation routes.

The members of the emergency response organisation on the Ekofisk complex appear to be motivated and aware with regard to the tasks they are to carry out.


  • Training: COPSAS does not ensure that personnel always possess the competence necessary to handle hazardous and accident situations.
  • Local EXWW emergency preparedness for the Ekofisk complex: the procedure was not completed prior to the winter period, as defined by COPSAS and the PSA for EXWW preparedness. (EXWW: emergency preparedness procedure for weather conditions that require evacuation of personnel from facilities that do not have a sufficient air gap between the underside of the platform and the sea)

The following improvement items were also identified:

  • Exercises: Persons in the emergency response organisation were aware of the timing and content of exercises.
  • Deputy function: There is little training in the deputy role. As far as we know, the deputy role has not been established among the helicopter deck crew.
  • Signposting and marking: Safety plans on 2/4-J are worn out and not up-to-date. Marking of the evacuation routes on the bridges is not consistent. Signs are missing and signs that are no longer valid after changes have not been removed.