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Audit of VNG’s preparations for drilling well 35/3-7S

Audit: On 16 June 2009 the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of VNG Norge (Operations) AS in Oslo, during which the company presented its activities in connection with preparations for drilling of well 35/3-S with the mobile facility Bredford Dolphin. We did not identify any non-conformities related to the regulatory requirements.

Background for the audit
This audit was a follow-up of previous activities aimed the company Endeavour and drilling of the Jade well. The objective of this year’s drilling activities was recently changed, so that the location was changed to well 35/3-7 S and the name of the operating company conducting the drilling operations is now VNG Norge (Operations) AS (VNG).

In 2009 the company will participate as a partner in the drilling of six wells, and VNG will be drilling a well (35/3-7S) itself. The company will still have an organisation in Oslo and Stavanger, but with a shared resource base.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to verify that VNG has taken the necessary measures for safeguarding HSE factors in the preparations for drilling of well 35/3-7S.

Result of the audit
In this audit the PSA focused on the company’s management of activities in the preparation phase of the drilling activity. Focus areas have been the company’s management system, competence and capacity in the company and its contractors, management of risk and emergency preparedness factors.

VNG uses ”Promenade” as a basis for its process-oriented management system. Det Norske Veritas has been a consultant during the work on the management system in relation to compliance with the supervisory duty.

The management system covers all of the company’s activities, but during the planned drilling activity the operations will be conducted in accordance with a project manual which does not reflect every aspect of the company’s management system.

In its internal revision plan the company has particularly focused on the drilling system, emergency preparedness and management. For the first two elements, findings have been handled through implemented measures. Some work still remains as regards the management element.

Bredford Dolphin (source: BG Norge)

In the coming drilling operation with Bredford Dolphin (photo) the company will use VNG’s management system for its own activities, while Dolphin’s management system will govern the activities on the drilling facility.

Our general impression is that a number of activities have been implemented that have strengthened the company’s capacity and competence, and that management of the activities towards the drilling operation is structured to comply with an operator’s responsibility.

The PSA particularly emphasised the company’s plans for emergency preparedness and communication in relation to the authorities. In their present plans, VNG only communicates with the authorities via second line emergency preparedness management, which has been outsourced to AGR.

The PSA is not particularly satisfied that this party (the consultant) will communicate with the authorities, even when VNG’s own third line emergency preparedness is mobilised.

We identified no non-conformities in relation to the regulatory requirements, but noted four factors with a potential for improvement in the following areas:

  • Communication with the authorities
  • Management of contractors and services
  • Management of change
  • Follow-up of incidents and evaluation of the drilling programme.