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Audit of maintenance management in Norsk Hydro

During the period 27 to 31 March 2006, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of maintenance management in Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS (Hydro). Particular emphasis was placed on the classification of equipment and use of analyses.

Background for the audit

The PSA shall set standards and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities maintain a high level of health, safety, environment and preapredness and thereby also ensure the maximum possible value creation for society.

The follow-up shall be system-oriented and risk-based and be in addition to the industry's own follow-up.

In Storting White Paper No. 7 (2001-2002) relating to health, environment and safety in the petroleum industry, chapter 4.12.2 states, among other things, the following as regards maintenance management:

"The Government believes it is necessary to develop management models for operations and maintenance in cooperation with the industry, in order to ensure a joint effort to strengthen the quality of maintenance in the petroleum industry, through, inter alia, the further development of methods and technologies, raising expertise and research."

In 2004 the PSA carried out a project in which we were presented with the maintenance management of five operators on the Norwegian continental shelf, among them Hydro. The project report was completed in March 2005. This year's audit of maintenance management in Hydro is thus a direct follow-up of this project.

The prevailing requirements for maintenance management are stated specifically in the Activities Regulations and the Management Regulations.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to see if Hydro classifies equipment according to the prevailing regulations and recognised norms, cf. the Activities Regulations, chapter IX on maintenance.

Another objective was to assess Hydro's use of this classification in connection with maintenance management.

Result of the audit

The audit was carried out in the form of presentations made by Hydro, interviews with selected personnel and random checks in SAP (verification).

Although the audit showed that Hydro had carried out projects aimed at improving maintenance, including the classification of equipment, it is our view that there are several areas in which the company is not in compliance with the requirements in the regulations which pertain to classification of equipment.

All our observations have been classified as nonconformities, cf. chapter 5, and have been grouped under five main headings:

  • Insufficient classification of equipment.

  • Insufficient visibility and documentation of the decision basis for the analyses made.

  • Insufficient use of classification as a basis for choices and prioritisation of maintenance.

  • Insufficient management of maintenance pending, with possible consequences for the management of daily operations.

  • Insufficient requirements as regards expertise, quality assurance and follow-up.

It is our view that these nonconformities directly affect Hydro's basis for managing maintenance of equipment critical to the safety of its facilities.

Contact in the PSA:
Mike Theiss