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Audit of use of new technology and challenges associated with radioactive sources in drilling and well operations

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) have conducted an audit of how Schlumberger Norge AS, Baker Hughes Norge AS and Halliburton AS use new technology and how the companies deal with the challenges associated with radioactive sources in drilling and well operations.


The audit was conducted during the month of March and included presentations, conversations with key persons and verifications in the workshop area.

Background for the audit
During previous audits in the period from 1999-2003, we noted that the companies faced challenges as regards the use of radioactive sources.

These challenges were related to HSE measures in connection with the use and handling of radioactive sources and the use of new technology.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify that sufficient attention is paid to HSE factors in connection with the handling of radioactive sources.

We wanted to verify that the well service companies complied with applicable regulations, requirements from the operating companies and internal company procedures for the use and storage of radioactive sources.

Another objective was to clarify the status in relation to previous audits, and thus maintain the prioritisation of new technology in connection with well logging using radioactive sources.

Result of the audit
It is our impression that the companies have a comprehensive management system to follow up health, environment and safety.  It is also our impression that the companies have good follow-up of radiation danger for personnel who use radioactive sources in their work. This equipment is used during collection of formation data in wells.

This type of vendor service demands a high level of expertise and specialisation.  At the same time, it is a challenge that the existing measurement methods entail short-term radioactive exposure for personnel through the use of unshielded source transfer.  This practice has remained relatively unchanged in recent years.

Nevertheless, substantial advances have been made in connection with the introduction of new methods for measuring the formation.  Alternative technology has been put to use to phase out radioactive sources, but this use is still limited as the equipment is not sufficiently robust.  Nor is there sufficient acceptance, demand or knowledge on the part of the users in the petroleum industry.

Chapter 5 of the report deals with improvement items related to the following factors:

Halliburton AS

  • Incident follow-up
  • New technology
  • Radiation protection
  • Competence and capacity
  • Radioactivity

Baker Hughes Norge AS

  • Quality management
  • Registration of incidents
  • Logistics
  • New technology
  • Radiation protection

Schlumberger Norge AS

  • Quality management
  • Logistics
  • New technology
  • Radiation protection
  • Competence and capacity