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Audit of DNO - emergency preparedness exercise

On 21 June 2007, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Det Norske Oljeselskap AS (DNO). The audit was linked to implementation of the operator's planned emergency preparedness exercise, and was carried out by means of observation in the operator's emergency response center.

DNO conducted the exercise as a part of its preparations for exploration drilling on production license 305, block 24/9, using the Bredford Dolphin facility.

DNO's second-line preparedness is led by DNO's own emergency preparedness manager, while premises, equipment and other personnel are supplied by AGR Ability Group/Drilling Production Technology (AGR/DPT). AGR/DPT's emergency response center is located at Skøyen, Oslo.

Background for the audit
Pursuant to the award letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion (AID), the PSA is to set the standards for and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum industry maintain a high level of health, safety, environment and emergency preparedness, and thereby contribute to creating the greatest possible values for society at large.

The PSA shall also contribute to reducing the risk level in the petroleum activities by following up to ensure that the players facilitate technical and operational integrity and the interplay between people, technology and organization in HSE-critical systems.

Another performance measure for the PSA is to follow up to ensure that the players safeguard their responsibilities to manage the activities. Emergency preparedness makes up key parts of the technical, operational and organizational barrier elements, and safeguarding these properly is important for maintaining an acceptable risk level.

Purpose of the audit
The PSA wanted to verify that DNO can handle a hazard and accident situation according to the prevailing emergency preparedness plans, its own performance requirements and the authorities' requirements and expectations.

Result of the audit
Subsequent to the exercise, it is the PSA's general impression that DNO handled the exercise's hazard and accident situation in accordance with the prevailing emergency preparedness plans, its own performance requirements as well as the authorities' requirements and expectations.

A realistic exercise scenario was set up which systematically led the emergency response organization through the five emergency preparedness phases.

Notice boards are used in the emergency response center to communicate and document information. The PSA questions whether the way the boards are used ensures adequate historical documentation of the work and the decisions made in the emergency response center.

We also question whether the information on the boards reflected the actual situation in relation to personnel on board (POB) and whether it provided an overview of available resources.

The PSA also has comments related to how DNO planned and implemented the normalization phase. The exercise scenario led to a dramatic well situation. In the opinion of the PSA, in such a critical situation the operator should prepare several alternatives to gain control over the situation. Insofar as possible, the alternatives should be dealt with in parallel. If Alternative 1 does not result in control over the situation, the work on Alternative 2 is already underway.

Contact person in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Mike Theiss