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Audit of technical safety and maintenance management on Heimdal

During the period 10-12 April 2007, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of how Gassco AS (Gassco) manages activities on the Heimdal Riser Platform (HRP). The audit targeted the areas of technical safety and maintenance. We identified two nonconformities related to Gassco's supervisory obligation and managing the maintenance of movable equipment.

Heimdal (kilde: Hydro)The audit activity was conducted in the form of conversations and verifications on Heimdal (see photo).

Background for the audit

Heimdal HRP has experienced some serious incidents in 2005 and 2006. During previous audits of Norsk Hydro Produksjon AS (Hydro), we have uncovered deficiencies related to the maintenance management system. This factor may have consequences as regards maintenance management on HRP as the same management system is used, and Hydro is the Technical Service Provider (TSP)* for the operator, Gassco.

*Technical Service Provider (TSP)
Any actual/physical person or body corporate that provides a technical service, such as a company that the operator uses for e.g. daily operations and maintenance tasks for the facilities.


Purpose of the audit

Gassco is the operator of HRP. Hydro is the operator of the Heimdal gas center, and functions as Gassco's TSP for operation of HRP. Therefore, a key element of the audit was to verify how Gassco exercises its tasks as operator of HRP, as well as the distribution of tasks between Gassco as operator and Hydro as service provider. The verification was limited to the areas of technical safety and maintenance.

Result of the audit

Subsequent to the audit, it is our impression that Gassco as operator does not adequately exercise its supervisory obligation vis-à-vis Hydro as TSP. Our basis for this statement is e.g. that Gassco has not implemented its own audit activities on HRP, which we believe would be a natural course of action in light of the deficiencies uncovered in Hydro's maintenance system, ref. report following the audit of "Management of activities and prevention of incidents on Heimdal" (link). In addition, there have been incidents/gas leaks with substantial potential where Gassco has not participated in the investigations offshore.

Two nonconformities were revealed relating to Gassco's supervisory obligation and managing the maintenance of movable equipment.

Furthermore, six areas with potential for improvement were identified. These areas are fire isolation of valves, control over outstanding work tasks, testing of emergency shutdown valves (ESDV - 1A valves), calibration of safety-critical manometers, escape routes and corrosion monitoring, prevention and maintenance.

Contact person in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Mike Theiss