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Audit of simultaneous modification and operations on Oseberg

Audit: During the period 1 September – 26 November 2008, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of the Oseberg Field Centre. The audit targeted management and organisation of simultaneous modification and operations, with particular focus on competence and understanding risk.


The audit was conducted in the form of a full-day start-up meeting with the land organisation on 1 September 2008, as well as a meeting with the land organisation at Sandsli with a review of the competence management and risk understanding systems.

Oseberg Field Centre

The offshore verification took place at the Oseberg Field Centre (pictured) on 24-26 November 2008. Conversations were conducted with relevant personnel in connection with the audit activity, both the head of Oseberg operations and offshore personnel.

The following areas were emphasised in the audit:

  • Working environment factors
  • Construction and choice of materials
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Safety system
  • Operation of the process and auxiliary facilities
  • Operations of the subsea facilities and field pipelines

The offshore verification at Oseberg was limited to competence management and understanding risk.

Background for the audit
In their investigations, the PSA and StatoilHydro have found that deficient understanding of risk and barriers is one of the most frequent underlying causes of serious incidents.

Professional competence and good knowledge of systems and equipment is a precondition for prudent management and execution of operations, maintenance and modification activities.

To ensure the best possible handling of abnormal and undesirable situations, it is important to have an understanding of the risk associated with implementing the activities.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to evaluate StatoilHydro's systems for ensuring competence and understanding of risk on the part of supervisory and operations personnel. This includes mapping of competence needs and communicating risk factors to relevant personnel on board.

The audit was intended to obtain more information about the following issues:

  • How are risk analyses/risk assessments used to identify and reduce risk?
  • How are results / preconditions / limitations in the organisation communicated?
  • How does StatoilHydro map which factors are important to ensure good risk understanding on the part of its own employees and contractors?
  • How is this translated into competence requirements for roles / functions?
  • How are existing and deficient competence mapped?
  • How does the company ensure and verify learning and understanding of risk at all levels?
  • How does StatoilHydro ensure a common understanding of risk and transfer of experience across the organisation and to contractors?
  • How are positive and negative experiences used for the purpose of learning and improvement?

Result of the audit
The verification was carried out as planned with conversations and verifications on board, as well as a review of three different cases that were distributed to three groups of employees at the Oseberg Field Centre prior to the audit. The cases were related to three different undesirable incidents which the groups were asked to review and relate to their own work tasks. The reviews made by the groups formed the basis for the discussions with the PSA during the offshore verification.

We identified three nonconformities and several factors with potential for improvement. The nonconformities are linked to regulatory requirements for

  • the HSE management system on Oseberg (APOS),
  • communication, use and updating of risk analyses,
  • management of competence.