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Audit of Statoil's follow-up of falling objects - Halten-Nordland (HNO)

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has conducted an audit of Statoil's general follow-up of undesirable incidents involving falling objects on facilities in the Halten-Nordland business unit. The audit revealed that several positive measures had been implemented.


However, some uncertainties were revealed that we will need feedback on.

The audit was conducted as a meeting where Statoil presented the status of their work relating to falling objects for different parts of the HNO business unit, which includes Åsgard, Kristin, Heidrun, Norne and Snøhvit, as well as the mobile facilities on Statoil contracts. In addition, the PSA had received various documentation prior to the audit.

Background and purpose:
The background for the audit was challenges related to falling objects and Statoil's general follow-up of these.
The purpose of the audit was divided into three parts:

  • establish an overview of how the company follows up such incidents in the different areas/units.
  • document that the company still focuses on falling objects
  • make the PSA's focus visible

The audit was also a continuation of an audit of falling objects carried out in 2003 aimed at Heidrun.

Result of the audit:
The audit demonstrated that several positive measures had been implemented in the HNO and in the individual profit centres. Measures such as "Stop falling objects in Halten, Nordland and the Barents Sea," "Report falling objects Åsgård B" and "Barriers against falling objects - Åsgård B" have been very positive and show that there is a willingness to meet the challenges related to falling objects in the HNO area.

The measures have revealed shortcomings and areas for improvement and provided several suggestions for specific improvements. Furthermore, we would like stress that it is particularly positive that HNO has chosen to use a dedicated person onshore to follow up and quality-assure reported incidents.

Some of the measures described above are corrective actions implemented retrospectively as a consequence of negative developments with regard to falling objects and are aimed at those parts of the organisation where the challenges are the greatest. In the PSA's opinion, it is also important to focus on goal-oriented measures prior to identifying the challenges.

The audit revealed uncertainties in the HNO as to how the project "Stop falling objects in the HNO and the Barents Sea," and the findings emerging from this report, are to be followed up further. In our opinion, many of the issues emerging from the report are serious and will need further evaluation and follow-up by Statoil. Some of these findings will be taken up with UPN centrally.

Furthermore, we question the company's handling and follow-up of the serious incidents related to falling objects on Kristin (Scarabeo 5 and West Alpha). In our opinion, the seriousness and frequency of these incidents would justify a more extensive follow-up than what became apparent at the meeting.

We can see several similarities between the Åsgard B development in 2004, where, as a consequence of several serious incidents related to falling objects, a separate project group was established to look into the causes of these incidents and to make recommendations. In our opinion, such a follow-up is in line with the requirements and expectations of Statoil's internal controlling documentation.

Based on the completed audit, we request feedback from the company with regard to the following areas:

  • Status for the closing of measures described in the report "Stop falling objects in HNO and the Barents Sea" with deadlines and a description of how the various findings are being followed up.
  • Description of how the project "Stop falling objects in HNO and the Barents Sea" is to be followed up further.
  • Description of which extraordinary measures the company has implemented as a consequence of incident developments in 2004 and so far in 2005, cf. our observations regarding the lack of follow-up of serious incidents relating to falling objects on Kristin.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Ole-Johan Faret
E-mail: ole-johan.faret@ptil.no