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Audit of maintenance management in ConocoPhillips

During the period 3-19 October 2006, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of maintenance management and use of integrated operations in this context in ConocoPhillips Skandinavia AS (CoPSAS). We identified several nonconformities with regulatory requirements during this audit.

During the audit, an issue arose regarding classification of equipment and how the results from the classification were used in management of maintenance. We followed up this issued in a meeting on 7 February 2007 with the technical directors who have process owner responsibility for maintenance.

Background for the audit

The PSA is to set standards and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities maintain high standards for health, environment and safety, and thereby also create the greatest possible value for the society at large.

This follow-up is to be system-oriented and risk-based, and come in addition to the industry's own follow-up.

Storting White Paper No. 7 (2001-2002) relating to health, environment and safety in the petroleum activities, Chapter 4.12.2, states inter alia the following regarding management of maintenance:

"The authorities believe it is necessary to further develop management models for operations and maintenance in cooperation with the industry, to ensure a joint effort to improve the quality of maintenance in the petroleum industry, in part through further developing methods and technologies, upgrading of competence and research."

Storting White Paper No. 12 (2005-2006) relating to health, environment and safety in the petroleum activities points out in Chapter 5.4 that deficient maintenance can increase the risk of major accidents, injuries and mishaps, and the White Paper refers to a rather extensive review of audit reports that shows a relatively large percentage of regulatory nonconformities.

These include deficiencies in the prioritisation of maintenance, evaluation of critical factors and follow-up of temporary equipment, as well as unsatisfactory documentation and outstanding maintenance of safety-critical equipment.

In some cases, competence in maintenance management was also inadequate.

The applicable requirements for maintenance management are listed particularly in the Activities Regulations (AR) and the Management Regulations (MR).

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to examine whether CoPSAS carries out classification of equipment in conformance with the applicable regulations and recognized standards, cf. Chapter IX of the Activities Regulations relating to maintenance.

A further objective was to evaluate CoPSAS' use of this classification in maintenance management.

Result of the audit

The audit was conducted in the form of a meeting with selected personnel, primarily the process owners of the maintenance.

It is our assessment that, in several areas, the company does not fulfil the regulatory requirements dealing with classification of equipment and the use of this classification.

All of our observations are characterized as nonconformities, ref. Chapter 5, and they fall into the following four main groups:

  • deficient classification of equipment,
  • deficient highlighting and documentation of the classification that has been carried out (documentation of the basis for the decision on selecting alternative methods, with the analyses that have been performed and highlighting of the results),
  • deficient use of classification as a basis for selection and prioritisation of maintenance,
  • deficient management of outstanding maintenance, with potential consequences for managing daily operations.

Contact person i the Petroleum Safety Authority
Mike Theiss