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Audit of HSE management on West Alpha

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Smedvig Offshore AS (Smedvig) and of Statoil ASA during the period 25-29 April 2005 in connection with a drilling activity with West Alpha (photo) on the Kristin field. The activity was aimed at the Smedvig management system and the facility's technical and operational situation, as well as Statoil's follow up of the drilling contractor's activities.

The audit was conducted in the form of meetings and interviews with personnel both onshore and offshore, and by verifications within selected areas on the facility. Both Smedvig and Statoil had observers participating in the audit.

Background for the audit

The background for the audit is the granting of an (AoC) to Smedvig on 31 December 2001 for West Alpha and Statoil's letter of 20 October 2003 with application for consent to use the West Alpha on Kristin.

Consent to use the West Alpha on Kristin was granted to Statoil in a letter of 12 November 2003. Consent is granted in part on the basis of documentation linked to the AoC for the facility, with the conditions and obligations the AoC entails for the drilling contractor and the operator.

The PSA carries out activities to help ensure that AoCs granted to drilling contractors are followed up and maintained according to regulatory requirements, and that the operators attend to their duty of supervision according to agreed guidelines.

So far, AoCs have been issued for 24 drilling facilities. The PSA has previously implemented follow-up activities on several of these facilities.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify that Smedvig and Statoil, each in their own capacity, observe the requirements for HSE management in connection with the drilling activity on the West Alpha on the Kristin field.

Result of the audit

It is important to all parties that the AoC and the AoC system function according to the intention. This includes division of responsibility between drilling contractor and operator. The operator's supervisory obligation is explained in detail in the OLF/NR guideline 082; Recommended guidelines for acceptance and operation of mobile drilling facilities with acknowledgement of compliance. The same applies to the drilling contractor's obligations.

Statoil's operations personnel were not very familiar with these guidelines or the content of the AoC. This was reflected in several of the activities implemented by the operator vis-à-vis the drilling contractor.

We have discovered nonconformities in relation to regulatory requirements related to the operator's follow-up of activities involving the West Alpha. This is especially related to planning and implementation of inspections and audits.

Smedvig's and Statoil's system for handling nonconformities does mot meet regulatory requirements. Moreover, nonconformities have been noted in connection with Smedvig's installation of a gas cylinder center, in connection with implementation of the company's training and exercises related to securing of loose equipment along the escape routes.

We have identified improvement potentials at Smedvig within the following areas, among others:

  • The company's HSE action plan and follow-up.
  • Maintenance management - prioritization and follow-up of maintenance.
  • Maintenance of seawater pipes and floor grids in columns.
  • Marking and labeling of escape routes


Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss