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Audit of technical and operational barriers on Gullfaks B

During the period 20 September - 1 October 2004, we conducted an audit of Statoil's follow-up of technical and operational barriers in the production facility on Gullfaks B (photo). The audit did not uncover any non-conformances with relevant regulatory requirements. It is our impression that Statoil handles this follow-up in an acceptable manner.

The audit was kicked off with an all-day meeting with the land organization on 20 September in Statoil's offices at Sandsli. Presentations were given in this meeting in accordance with our proposal in the notification of audit.

The audit continued on Gullfaks B in the period 29 September - 1 October, with interviews of relevant personnel, inspection of the facilities and verifications of systems and documents.

The audit was carried out in accordance with the plan and with good facilitation by Statoil.

Background for the audit

In recent years there have been a number of undesirable incidents with a high hazard and accident potential on the shelf as a consequence of the failure of one or more central barriers, both technical and operational.

Therefore, we are conducting a series of audits to assess how the various players follow up such barriers, and also to see whether individual players have good systems that can be transferred to others.

Purpose of the audit

One of our goals for 2004 is to help the industry attain an overview of, and maintain, a technical standard that ensures the safe operation of the installations.

We accomplish this by following up to ensure that the players maintain the integrity of the technical barriers on the installations, and that they work to avoid hydrocarbon leaks.

The goal of this audit was to verify that Statoil safeguards, including identification of the need for, establishes, maintains and further develops the various barriers necessary in order to have an acceptable safety level for operation and maintenance of the production facilities on Gullfaks B.

In this audit we have emphasized elements such as manning and competence, procedures, knowledge and use of various risk analyses, goals and strategies, planning and execution of maintenance, as well as measurement and improvement.

Result of the audit

It is our impression that Statoil handles the follow-up of technical and operational barriers in the production facility on Gullfaks B in an acceptable manner.

However, the audit did reveal areas where there is a potential for improvement as regards:

. leak testing of valves with important safety functions,
. communication and use of information about the area risk map and
. follow-up of operational assumptions from the total risk analysis (TRA) for Gullfaks B

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway
Mike Theiss