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Audit of Statoil's follow-up of incidents with falling objects

During the period 15 June - 28 October 2005 we carried out an audit of Statoil's follow-up of incidents with falling objects in the company's business areas Halten-Nordland, Troll-Sleipner and Tampen. The company has carried out several positive measures, but incidents with falling objects still constitute a challenge on the fields.

The audit was carried out as meetings where Statoil presented the status of its work relating to falling objects for the different parts of the relevant business areas.

Furthermore, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) had received and reviewed documentation of Statoil's cause analyses and implemented measures after incidents in 2004 and 2005 preceding the audit.

Background for the audit

The background for the audit was challenges associated with falling objects and Statoil's follow-up of these.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was divided into three parts:

  • Establish an overview of how the company follows up, implements improvements and ensures that the lessons learnt are maintained in order to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the various areas/units.

  • Document that the company maintains a focus on falling objects.

  • Highlight PSA's focus


Result of the audit, Halten-Nordland (HNO)

The audit proved that several beneficial measures had been carried out in HNO and in the individual result units.

Measures such as the "Stop falling objects in Halten Nordland and the Barents Sea", "Report falling objects Åsgard B" and "Barriers against falling objects - Åsgard B" are very positive and show that there is a willingness to accept the challenges regarding falling objects in HNO.

These measures have identified flaws and improvement areas and have brought about many proposals for specific improvements.

It is also positive that HNO has chosen to use a separate person onshore to follow up and quality-assure reported incidents.

Some of the measures described above are corrective measures implemented retrospectively as a consequence of a negative development with regard to falling objects. These measures are aimed at those parts of the organisation where the challenge is greatest. As far as PSA is concerned, it is also important to focus on goal-oriented measures before incidents occur.

The audit has identified some confusion in HNO as to how the project "Stop falling objects in HNO and the Barents Sea" and the discoveries emerging from this, must be followed up further.

We are of the opinion that many of the discoveries revealed in the report are serious and will require further evaluation and follow-up by Statoil. We will discuss some of these discoveries directly with Exploration and Production Norway (E&P).

Furthermore, we question the company's processing and follow-up of the serious incidents relating to falling objects that occurred on Kristin (Scarabeo 5 and West Alpha). In our opinion the degree of severity and frequency shows that these should have received a more extensive follow-up than became apparent in the meeting.

We notice similarities with the development on Åsgard B in 2004 where, as a consequence of several serious incidents relating to falling objects, a separate project group was established that will look into the causes of the incidents and provide recommendations. In our opinion such follow-up is in accordance with the requirement and expectations of Statoil's Working Requirement (WR 0015).

Result of the audit, Troll-Sleipner (T-S)

During the meeting it was stated that falling objects constitute the greatest challenge on T-S and that there is still much that needs to be done before the objectives set for the area and the units will be met.

The statistics of near incidents and the state of the facilities still show a negative development even though a lot of work has been carried out to prevent falling objects. It was stated that no clear trends in the development were evident and that there were no simple solutions to the problems.

Statoil presented the various measures implemented for the area and the various units. Some of the measures that they had chosen to adopt were: a review of the drilling area with the same team that was present on the other UPN facilities, a visual inspection system (DROPS), introduction and focus on a red zone on the drill floor and verification of a tidy work place when finishing off a job.

We have no specific comments on the presented measures for the various units on T-S, but register that there is a focus on falling objects and that for some areas different measures have been chosen from one unit to another.

Furthermore, we observed that it was not evident from the presentations whether one had made use of the experiences that had been made in other parts of Statoil. This confirms our impression that transfer of experience internally in the company may still constitute a challenge.

Furthermore, we are left with the impression that T-S could focus more on improvement and prevention of undesirable incidents and how to learn from these. We were therefore happy to observe that in the meeting much had been learned from the contractors' system of transfer of experience.

Result of the audit, Tampen

Statoil referred to falling objects being an area of focus for Tampen and that several measures had been implemented to prevent falling objects.

Even though falling objects still constituted a challenge and they were striving to achieve more sturdy results, we did register an improvement in terms of an increase in the number of condition reports and a decrease in the number of actual falling objects within the area Drilling and Well.

Tampen has been dealing with the problem of falling objects from early on and has been an instigator when it comes to implementing preventative measures. After several serious incidents with falling objects in 2002 and 2003, several measures were implemented such as a review of all the drilling facilities in the Tampen area by a separate inspection group, picture books for the inspection of equipment and a preparation of Tampen's own best practice when it comes to securing overhead equipment.

An important part of the measures has been to involve the drilling contractor. The work which is now being carried out consists of increasing the awareness of falling objects amongst the workers and increasing the focus on this in their daily work. Many of the measures initiated by Tampen are being continued across the UPN.

We register that falling objects still constitute a challenge for Tampen and that there have been too many incidents with falling objects in the current year too.

We regard all the implemented measures for the area as positive and believe that the planned/implemented measures will have a positive effect.~LT~/P>

However, it is still important that the focus on falling objects continues and that the effect of the implemented measures is continuously evaluated. In that connection it is important to carry out the necessary analyses of the incidents and evaluate the development in the long run, and not just for the current year as seemed to be the case with parts of Statoil's presentation.

Furthermore, we register that the company focuses on reporting falling objects and has a correct and realistic weighting of the incidents. Our inspection of the reported incidents in Synergi indicated that this was the case.

Contact in the PSA:
Inger Anda
Press spokesperson
Telephone: + 47 970 54 064