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Audit of the drilling facility Scarabeo 8

Audit: During the period 8 to 11 June 2009, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Saipem SpA Norwegian Branch (Saipem). The audit targeted technical safety, crane and lifting operations, working environment and maintenance management on Scarabeo 8.


The audit was carried out during a start-up meeting at the Saipem office as well as at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo.

Interviews with project personnel, verifications on board the facility and a review of technical documentation regarding the areas in question were carried out at the shipyard.

As an introduction, the PSA held a presentation both at the Norwegian office and the shipyard in Palermo, reviewing and discussing experiences from processing AoC applications.

Scarabeo 8

This audit will be a part of the processing of the future application for an Acknowledgement of Compliance  (AoC) for Scarabeo 8 (pictured).

Background for the audit
Scarabeo 8 is a semi-submersible dynamically positioned drilling facility of the Moss CS 50 MKII type. The hull was constructed at the Sevmash shipyard in Severovdinsk, Russia. Fabrication and outfitting is being carried out at the Fincantieri shipyard in Palermo, Italy.

Saipem has entered into a contract with ENI Norge (ENI) to use the facility for drilling activities in the Barents Sea. 

Saipem will submit an application for an AoC for the facility to the PSA in connection with operations on the Norwegian shelf. The AoC will be part of the document basis for the operator ENI’s future application for an AoC in order to commence activities with the facility on the Norwegian shelf.  

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to increase understanding of the regulations through advice and guidance on some of the challenges the PSA has experienced during the processing of AoC for other newbuild projects. We have seen a need for such guidance, particularly in players building new facilities at yards with little or no experience of Norwegian regulations.

The goal of the audit activity was also to verify that the managerial and technical conditions within selected areas were maintained in accordance with the regulatory requirements during the design and construction phase. The company’s own governing documents and studies/analyses formed the basis for the verifications.

Result of the audit
The facility was characterised by extensive construction work being carried out on board.

Orderliness and tidiness were very poor on the facility, and subsequently the preservation of equipment and components was substandard.

PSA is very worried about this as it may have consequences for safety and the working environment during the start-up and operations phase, as well as higher maintenance costs in the future.

The project is behind the set schedule. During the audit, it emerged that it had not been decided if the facility would be completed as fully winterised. The PSA said this must be described in the company’s future AoC application.

Philosophy documents for the safety systems on board have been drawn up, yet it is not clear which solutions are to be chosen for all of the systems and what these are based on.

The connections between identified risk, risk analysis, safety strategy, performance standards and philosophies or specifications for the individual systems did not appear from the presented documentation.

During the verifications on board, we discovered that panels, cable trays and other equipment in electrical rooms, engine room and pump room were placed in such a way that access for maintenance and evacuation is obstructed.

Furthermore, we registered some items which are not maintained in accordance with the formulated ”installation practices”.

Using the 3-D model, extensive blind zone problems in connection with handling of materials using the cranes were identified.

It also emerged that the view from the operator cabins on the offshore cranes and the knuckle boom cranes to loading areas, storage areas and down hatches was limited or completely obstructed

We identified some weaknesses in the project management of working environment conditions. This is mainly tied to working environment studies which have not been carried out or were insufficiently carried out.

We also pointed out some deficiencies in connection with the lay-out and choice of technical solutions.