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Audit of flexible pipes for Norne satellites

During the period 5-12 November, we conducted an audit of Statoil's compliance with regulatory and project-specific requirements established in connection with qualification, engineering and fabrication of flexible pipes and risers for the Norne satellite project.

Background for the audit

One of the key performance goals for the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) in 2004 is to contribute to reducing the risk level in the offshore petroleum activities.

To achieve this, our duties include following up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities facilitate technical and operational integrity on the installations.

We are also to follow up to ensure that the players avoid hydrocarbon leaks and other incidents that have a high potential as regards major accidents.
In recent years we have seen several incidents linked to flexible risers on the Norwegian continental shelf.

In several of these incidents we have seen new failure modes that have not been identified in the design phase. Based on this, we find it necessary to maintain focus on qualification, engineering and fabrication of flexible pipes.
Furthermore, the PSA has little experience from audits with Stolt Offshore as an EPCI supplier.

Moreover, we have not conducted audits of NKT Flexibles as supplier of flexible pipes and risers, and this is the first time that NKT Flexibles has such an extensive delivery to the Norwegian shelf.

Purpose of the audit

The objective of this audit was to verify that Statoil, Stolt Offshore and NKT Flexibles comply with regulatory requirements and the project's own requirements established in connection with qualification, engineering and fabrication of flexible pipes and risers for Norne satellites.

Another goal has been to see how Statoil fulfills its supervision duty vis-à-vis Stolt Offshore as a supplier and vis-à-vis NKT Flexibles as a subcontractor supplying flexible pipes.

Result of the audit

The PSA's audit activity revealed that compliance with regulatory requirements in the Norne satellites project is not fully satisfactory.

Two non-conformities in relation to regulatory requirements and four areas with potential for improvement were identified during the audit.

One of the non-conformities is associated with the lack of work instructions for Statoil's on-site representative at the fabrication site for the flexible pipes. The other non-conformity is linked to deficient follow-up of the audit plan on the part of the supplier and subcontractor supplying flexible pipes.

The areas flagged as having a potential for improvement are linked to quality assurance of fabrication processes, transfer of experience, risk assessments and implementation of a contract review.

Contact person in the Petroleum Safety Authority:
Mike Theiss