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Audit of Norsk Hydro - area emergency preparedness on Troll and Oseberg

In the period 19 - 23 January 2004 the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an overall audit of several installations in the Troll and Oseberg areas belonging to Norsk Hydro AS (NH) and Statoil ASA (Statoil). As regards NH, this applies to the Oseberg Field Center, Oseberg C and Troll B.


The audit started with meetings with the respective companies' operating organizations in Bergen, Sandsli, on 10 December and 11 December 2003.

The audit concerned the introduction of area emergency preparedness on the Troll and Oseberg fields, and also included Statoil's installations Veslefrikk, Huldra and Troll A.

The audit offshore began with start-up meetings at the Oseberg Field Center, on Troll B and Oseberg C respectively in the period 19-21 January 2004.

Interviews were conducted with managers, technical personnel and the safety delegate service on board. Plans had been agreed with the platform management in advance for conducting interviews and the rest of the audit.

Summarizing meetings were held upon the conclusion of the audit, where we presented our preliminary observations.

Good facilitation of the audit on the part of NH, and a good climate of cooperation, both with the land organization and on board the installations, contributed to a good practical implementation of the audit.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has sent separate audit reports to NH for each installation.

Background for the audit

The background for the audit is that NH was granted a consent for change of the use consent for the relevant installations on 27 September 2002. The change involved area emergency preparedness on the Oseberg field.

The audit was mainly based on Sections 29 and 30 of the Framework Regulations, Chapter VI-II (Competence) and Chapter XI (Emergency preparedness) of the Activities Regulations.

In addition, reference is made to the change of consent for use which presupposes a trial period of two years on specified conditions.

The consent was granted on the following conditions:

  • During a two-year trial period a verification program shall be implemented for the relevant installation to confirm that the requirements in the area emergency preparedness plan and the installation's specific requirements for emergency preparedness are complied with.
  • The company's evaluation of the results in the trial period shall be submitted to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (PSA) by the end of the period.
  • Audits will be conducted by the NPD (PSA) and the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority during the trial period.

The NPD also presupposed that the individual installation is at all times responsible for the emergency preparedness level being in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to see how NH ensures that the emergency preparedness plans and measures in the company are in compliance with current regulatory requirements, with special focus on Sections 29 and 30 of the Framework Regulations relating to coordination of and cooperation on emergency preparedness, Section 15 of the Framework Regulations relating to verifications and Section 38 relating to monitoring of safety zones, Section 11 of the Management Regulations relating to manning and competence, Section 64 of the Activities Regulations relating to establishing emergency preparedness and Section 68 relating to handling of situations of hazard and accident, Section 40 of the Facilities Regulations relating to equipment for rescue of personnel and Section 43 relating to means of evacuation, and Section 11 of the Information Duty Regulations relating to alert and notification to the supervisory authorities of situations of hazard and accident.

Essential topics reviewed during the audit were the establishment of area preparedness, which includes the SAR helicopter, standby vessels, follow-up and further development of management systems emergency preparedness, emergency preparedness plans and system for maintenance of evacuation and rescue equipment, emergency preparedness drills, competence of response personnel and requirements for the emergency preparedness organization.

Result of the audit

The audit did not uncover any matters on the relevant installations that would have led to a notification of order, but we observed some matters that the PSA has defined as items with an improvement potential.

The main impression from the audit is therefore that there is room for improvement of some matters related to emergency preparedness on board, but the general impression is good.

The audit emphasized matters related to area resources, but other areas related to emergency preparedness were also addressed. This means that not all of the observations made can be directly linked to the area preparedness on the Oseberg and Troll fields.

Summary Oseberg Field Center (excerpt from journal 04/248-2)

  • Emergency number 112 not introduced.
  • Deficient routines and system for transfer of experience between the operators Hydro and Statoil.
  • MOB emergency preparedness and response time for two systems. No time or efficiency requirements for M0B boat on board the standby vessel when working above the sea.
  • MOB boat drills. Deficient frequency in the implementation of training and drills per trip. Registration of drills and training not followed up by the line manager. Drills and training in cooperation with the standby vessel not implemented according to plan.
  • Dispersion equipment for the SAR helicopter still not in operation. Unclear status for this part of the project.

A round on the installation gave a generally good impression, but the marking of escape routes was deficient in some places. Some information signs were unclear due to wear and tear.

A table-top drill was conducted in the evening on 19 January 2004, and the impression is that the organization on board handles its task in a convincing manner.

Havila Troll
Foto: Norsk Hydro

The audit group received a positive impression of the helicopter crew from CHC Helikopter who operate the SAR helicopter, which is stationed on 0SF. Their motivation and commitment to their assignment was good.

The PSA also had the opportunity to participate in a training trip towards Veslefrikk, where the main focus was ships on a collision course.

Summary Troll B (excerpt from journal 04/248-3)

  • Deficient routines and system for transfer of experience between the operators Hydro and Statoil.
  • No defined requirement for response time for the M0B boat on board the standby vessel.
  • Little variation during MOB boat drills, backup manning not very much involved.
  • At least one of the emergency organizations members with special responsibility had deficient VHF competence.

The audit group noted that that the emergency number 112 was implemented on Troll B. This is very positive.

During our stay a table-top drill was conducted where the topic was a defined hazard and accident situation (DFU) concerning a major oil spill from production wells.

The emergency preparedness organization handled notification and measures in a good manner, even though a further development of the scenario could provide better involvement and commitment at all levels in the emergency preparedness organization.

An inspection round on the installation gave a generally good impression.

Summary Oseberg C (excerpt from journal 04/248-4)

  • Emergency number 112 not introduced.
  • Deficient routines and system for transfer of experience between the operators Hydro and Statoil.
  • MOB emergency preparedness and response time for two systems. No time or efficiency requirements for M0B boat on board the standby vessel when working above the sea.
  • MOB boat drills. Deficient frequency in the implementation of training and drills per trip. Registration of drills and training not followed up by the line manager. Few drills and training in cooperation with the standby vessel.
  • Lack of clarity with regard to the division of responsibility, competence and training among the control room operators.

An inspection round on the installation gave a generally good impression.

A table-top drill was conducted in the evening on 21 January 2004, and the impression is that the organization on board handles its tasks in a good manner.

The PSA's follow-up

Contact person in the PSA:
Mike Theiss