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Audit of Talisman – technical safety at Yme

Audit: From 18-20 March 2009, the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) carried out an audit of the operator’s compliance with regulatory requirements during the construction of Yme. The audit was directed towards the area of technical safety. During the audit, several nonconformities were observed as well as items of improvement for the regulations in this area.


The audit was carried out at the Abu Dhabi construction site. We especially focused on the following areas:

  • Fire fighting systems.
  • Passive fire protection and fire barriers.
  • Instrumented safety systems.

Background for the audit
The PSA is to set the terms for and make sure the players in the petroleum industry maintain high standards for health, environment and safety, and through this, create the greatest possible values for society in general.

The PSA is also to contribute to the reduction of risk levels in the petroleum industry by following up the players’ preparations for technical and operational integrity. Technical safety makes up key areas of the technical barriers, and good compliance with these is important in achieving an acceptable risk level.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify that Talisman Energy Norway AS (TENAS) ensures that Yme is built in compliance with the regulations for the area which is included in this activity, technical safety.

Result of the audit
During the previous audit, carried out in December 2008, a number of weaknesses connected to the follow-up of passive fire protection were discovered. The operator was then ordered to strengthen competence in this area (link).

Talisman and SBM have increased the manning of the construction site by two experienced and certified inspectors, in addition to adjusting procedures and follow-ups. It is still not clear whether fire barriers south and north have satisfactory fire resistance to meet the design fire load.

During the audit, a number of non conformities and areas of improvement in relation the regulations were observed for the technical safety area.

Nonconformities:

  • There is not sufficient documentation that fire barriers south and north are in compliance with regulations.
  • Some signals from the critical alarm panel (CAP) such as fire pump start and the triggering of extinguishing systems were not independent of the instrumented safety systems. A check of a non-safety related seawater pump from the panel was also carried out. No gas-based room extinguishing systems could be triggered from the panel.
  • The emergency shutdown system has an automatic trip at the highest level (APS) in the event of confirmed gas detection in the hull.
  • The control unit for the emergency shutdown system was not located in the immediate proximity of the central control room.

Areas for improvement:

  • The emergency shutdown system receives and processes signals which are not directly related to safety, such as valve position. The system is only to be used for emergency shutdown functions.
  • The ignition of the flare is not a function of the emergency shutdown system.
  • There were no completed procedures for testing and verification of safety systems being designed and installed in compliance with regulations. Furthermore, there were no procedures for delivery of completed equipment to the operations department.
  • It could not be documented that the Yme maintenance system included elements to keep maintenance in compliance with SIL-levels in order to maintain safety.
  • None of the permanently mounted fire fighting installations using gas as extinguishant (Novek 1230) could be triggered from the central control room,. Furthermore, there was no automatic trigger following fire detection. In addition, the gas cylinders are placed in the rooms they are meant to protect.