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Audit of technical and operational safety and learning from incidents at Mongstad

Audit: During the period 24 - 26 March 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of StatoilHydro (SH) at Mongstad. We identified no non-conformities in relation to the regulatory requirements.


Background for the audit
The PSA is to set standards for and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities maintain high standards as regards health, safety and the environment, and thereby also contribute towards creating the greatest possible values for the Norwegian society.

The PSA shall also contribute to reducing the risk level in the petroleum activities by following up the players to ensure that they promote technical and operational integrity on the facilities, and also follow up the interplay between people/technology/organisation in HSE-critical systems.

Mongstad (source: StatoilHydro)

The Mongstad facility (photo) has been through a long period with a high level of activity and simultaneous operation. Risk management and learning from incidents are important elements in achieving good processes to increase safety at the facility.

The audit was conducted on the basis of the temporary regulations of 19 December 2003 relating to safety and working environment for certain petroleum facilities on land and associated pipeline systems (Temporary Regulations), and regulations relating to systematic health, safety and environment work in enterprises (Internal Control Regulations).

Purpose of the audit
Safety-critical barriers must be safeguarded in a unified and consistent manner, so that the risk of major accidents is reduced as far as possible. The PSA achieves this by

  • following up that the industry establishes and further develops systems for barrier management from an MTO perspective, which is in accordance with the intention of the regulations,
  • contributing to developing a high level of expertise both in the industry and the PSA in relation to safeguarding barrier functions,
  • contributing to ensuring that simultaneous operations and modification are carried out with a prudent safeguarding of the safety-critical barriers.

Result of the audit
The audit was carried out as planned with good facilitation from SH. The conversations were conducted in an open and good manner, and the participants were prepared and reflective, and gave a professionally solid and good impression.

Central topics which we concentrated on during the audit, were organisational barriers such as the work permit process with related processes, and how SH Mongstad applies information from incidents in the group and elsewhere in the industry.

No non-conformities were identified in connection with the audit.

The report contains two observations with a potential for improvements:

  • There are no criteria for how many work permits are possible within one area of the refinery. In practice it is up to the area operator to limit the number.
  • The work on utilizing other people's experiences, can to a larger degree be systemized and structured in such a way that the improvement process becomes more clear and leads to the desired results.