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Audit of technical barriers and technical condition on Ula

During the period 13 March - 16 May 2006, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of BP Norge AS' (BP's) system for managing technical condition. The purpose of the audit was to ensure that BP has established the necessary systems to safeguard the good technical condition of its facilities. None of our findings were of such a nature that they give grounds for an order.

Ula (source: BP)Emphasis was placed e.g. on how BP has implemented and followed up its barrier surveys as regards technical condition.

The supervision activity was carried out as a system audit including review of documentation, offshore verification on Ula (see photo) and conversations with relevant personnel.

Background for the audit

The PSA is to set standards and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum industry maintain high levels of health, safety, environment and emergency preparedness, and thereby also contribute towards creating the greatest possible value for the Norwegian society.

The PSA shall also contribute towards reducing the risk level in the offshore petroleum activities by following up to ensure that the players facilitate the technical and operational integrity of their facilities, as well as follow-up the man - technology - organization (MTO) interaction in systems that are critical from an HSE standpoint.

Reference is made to Storting White Paper No. 7 (2001-2002) on HSE in the petroleum activities, and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate's (identical) letters of 1 July 2002 sent to the industry as regards the technical condition of the facilities.

Technical condition is one of the PSA's priority areas in 2006.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify that BP

  • plans, implements and follows up the activities in accordance with regulatory requirements.

  • has the necessary systems that provide an overview and status of technical barriers.

  • identifies nonconformities through use of these systems, and that subsequent corrections and measures are implemented and have the desired effect.


Result of the audit

The barrier survey started in 2003, but was still not complete for all technical disciplines and facilities.

It appeared that the surveys conducted on Ula were well executed, and we received the impression that BP had an overview of technical barriers and their condition. However, follow-up of identified observations and nonconformities was not satisfactory.

During the audit we found nonconformities and items where there is room for improvement in relation to the PSA's regulations and the company's internal requirements in certain areas such as handling nonconformities, follow-up of findings in the barrier survey project and controlling operations documentation.

None of our observations are of such a nature that they warrant an order.

Contact in the PSA:
Mike Theiss