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Audit of StatoilHydro's management of actions following an oil spill on Statfjord

Audit: During the period 13 - 19 May 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the Norwegian State Pollution Control Authority (SFT) conducted an audit of StatoilHydro's management of actions after an order issued in connection with an oil spill on Statfjord on 12 December 2007.

Link:  Order issued to StatoilHydro following crude oil spill on Statfjord

The audit targeted StatoilHydro's management of technical, organisational and administrative conditions in connection with the loading system on 13 May 2009.

The audit also included  the shipping company Teekay Shipping Norway (Teekay), and the equipment and service suppliers APL and Aker Pusnes. We carried out the audit at Teekay on 14 May, and at APL and Aker Pusnes on 19 May. 

Background for the audit
The PSA's main priority is to prevent harm to the external environment, including undesirable incidents and accidents which may lead to environmentally harmful discharges to sea and emissions to air. The PSA's area of responsibility also includes measures to prevent damage, and actions aimed at stopping an accident at the source and reducing the impact of it.

The SFT is responsible for imposing emergency preparedness requirements related to acute pollution on the Norwegian shelf, and for monitoring compliance with these requirements.

The joint authority investigation after the oil spill from Statfjord OLS-A on 12 December 2007 instructed StatoilHydro to take measures of an organisational, technical and emergency preparedness nature. The audit was aimed at investigating how StatoilHydro and its suppliers have identified and carried out the necessary measures.

Purpose of the audit
We emphasised the following issues during the audit:

  • Organisation and responsibility
  • Risk assessments and system resilience
  • Safety system
  • Maintenance management
  • Management of change
  • Management of incident follow-up
  • Management of preparedness handling
  • Transfer of experience

The audit was carried out as meetings, where the players presented their relevant areas and we asked questions for clarification. A verification of governing documents was also carried out.

Result of the audit
It is our impression that considerable improvements have been  implemented in StatoilHydro and its suppliers. The improvement project "Offshore Loading Excellence" (OLE) has resulted in changes to the technical solutions and management of loading operations.

Changes to the technical solution entail, for example, modification of the bow loading system (BLS) with installation of a restriction orifice in the manifold valve and installation of a check valve in the inboard valve.

As a result of the modifications, the manifold and inboard valves will not quick-close if a hydraulic hose should break.

A solution for continuous oil flow metering during the loading operations has also been qualified. This solution is in the process of being installed on the vessels. The maintenance management has been improved through more frequent intervals for replacing  the hydraulic hoses.

A contract for maintenance of BLS has been established between Teekay and the equipment suppliers APL and Aker Pusnes. The contract also includes training of Teekay's crew.

Failure mode analyses (FMEA) of BLS have been conducted for nine of a total of 13 vessels. The analyses have identified failure modes not formerly known, for example related to green line and back-up power supply.

The implementation of the failure mode analyses has taken longer than originally anticipated due to their scope and complexity. An updated timeline for analyses of the remaining vessels is currently being prepared.

We have also noted that StatoilHydro conducts workshops for OIMs on the Statfjord field, where issues such as handling of DFUs. e.g. "oil on the sea", "kicks"  and security are discussed. The importance of mobilizing the emergency response organisation as early as possible is stressed. The programme will be continued for all of StatoilHydro's OIMs.

We have made observations classified as nonconformities related to

  • missing independence between the process control and emergency shutdown function
  • missing risk analyses of the loading system
  • missing classification of the loading system.

In addition, we have made observations classified  as potential for improvement items  related to responsibility and organisation, and governing documents.