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Audit of Statoil's follow-up of own activities

During the period from February - June 2007, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Statoil to examine how the company safeguards its responsibility in relation to regulatory requirements for follow-up of own activities.

The audit was carried out in three business areas and selected support functions. Statoil was chosen as the first company because it is by far the largest player in Norway.

The PSA has chosen the companies' follow-up of their own activities as one of its main focus areas in the supervisory activities in 2007.

Background for the audit
In recent years, a considerable amount of time and resources have been devoted to measures to reduce the number of incidents and improve the safety level on the Norwegian shelf. The annual reports from the project entitled "Trends in risk levels - Norwegian continental shelf" (RNNS) show positive trends in certain areas, but no significant improvement in the overall risk level.

During this period, Statoil has experienced several incidents with significant potential. The regulations for both land and the shelf contain clear requirements stipulating that weaknesses in the HSE work shall be revealed through systematic follow-up activities.

The authorities' follow-up of the activities is based on the companies' own follow-up, and presumes that this is in accordance with the regulations.

Statoil is now undergoing a change phase in which controlling documents are being reviewed, updated and implemented.

The principal document, the Statoil Book, was issued just before the audit. Several underlying documents were issued during the course of the audit period.

At the same time, extensive work is underway to prepare for the merger with Hydro. In this phase it is important that the company's own follow-up and measures reflect this.

It is through this follow-up that the management can consider the need to correct or adjust the changes that are underway.

In this audit we wanted to examine the extent to which Statoil's follow-up activities reveal the company's own areas for improvement, result in necessary measures, have lasting effect through improving HSE performance and ensure continuous improvement.

The following regulations formed the basis for the audit:

For petroleum activities as mentioned in Section 2 of the Framework Regulations (shelf-related):

  • Regulations of 31 August 2001 relating to health, safety and environment in the petroleum activities (the Framework Regulations).

  • Regulations of 3 September 2001 relating to management in the petroleum activities (the Management Regulations).

For activities at land facilities as mentioned in Section 1 of the provisional regulations and subsequent decisions:

  • Provisional regulations of 19 December 2003 relating to safety and working environment for certain petroleum facilities on land and associated pipeline systems (provisional regulations).

  • Regulations of 3 September 2001 relating to management in the petroleum activities (the Management Regulations).

  • Regulations of 6 December 1996 relating to systematic health, safety and environment work in enterprises (the Internal Control Regulations).

It follows from Section 11 of the provisional regulations that the Management Regulations apply to the land facilities, but that the responsible party can elect to use the requirements in the Internal Control Regulations as a basis. Therefore, Chapter 5 of the report refers to both regulations.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to examine the extent to which the company's system for following up its own activities contributes to reducing risk, and provides lasting improvement in the HSE level. Emphasis was placed on the company's basis for following up, planning, implementing and measuring the results of its own activities.

The audit was carried out in all business areas in Norway in order to obtain an overall view of how the company's controlling documents are applied.

Interviews were conducted of personnel in the line from senior management and downwards both in business areas, profit areas and profit centers. Interviews were also conducted with personnel in group staff entities and process owners.

In this audit we reviewed the company's own requirements for follow-up of the activities, follow-up plans and reports subsequent to completed verifications and audits. Through these interviews we have obtained broad insight into how activities are planned and carried out.

Result of the audit
The three business areas have different practices as regards how they operate, and we have found varying degrees of concurrence with implementation of the new requirements for follow-up (monitoring) in the Statoil Book.

During the audit we have taken into account both the current internal requirements and the new internal requirements that, in part, came into force during the audit period.

The new Statoil Book very clearly defines responsibility for follow-up and what this entails, and the new structure seems well thought-out and is perceived as being a definite improvement.

During the audit we noted that several important tasks are still outstanding. These tasks relate to conceptual understanding, implementation and compliance.

The audit targeted Statoil's basic follow-up of its own activities and the report covers only those elements that have common aspects for all business areas, and not elements that we found only in individual business areas.

The personnel we interviewed were open and direct in their explanations and comments. It was very apparent that Statoil's employees do give priority to HSE work, are enthusiastic regarding their professional disciplines, and the interviewed personnel exhibited definite involvement and responsibility as regards operations.

The company conducts significant follow-up work to maintain an overview over its activities.

During the audit we did, however, identify the following nonconformities:

  • The established processes in Statoil that are to ensure and document that the company's follow-up plans are adequate, coordinated, cover the right areas, give the management a correct picture of the situation and ensure necessary quality and use of resources, do not sufficiently safeguard the regulatory requirements.

  • Follow-up of the company's own management system to ensure that a management system is established and functions as intended is not sufficiently systematic.

  • With the exception of "TTS" (technical condition safety) the company has not established adequate routines to ensure and document that requirements in the HSE regulations are fulfilled and observed, including routines to evaluate the extent to which independent verification is needed.

  • There is insufficient establishment of routines to check whether implemented measures have the desired effect and contribute to continuous improvement.

Through its HSE improvement project "LUNA", Statoil has identified comparable areas that can contribute towards reducing risk.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Finn Carlsen
Telephone: +47 51 87 60 81