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Audit of work supervision and barrier management on Draugen

Audit: During the period 15 May – 3 December 2008, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of how AS Norske Shell (Shell) manages technical and operational barriers. The audit was particularly aimed at prevention of major accidents in connection with operation and maintenance of the process facility on Draugen.


The audit was conducted by means of a kick-off meeting with the land organisation on 15 May, audit activities on Draugen during the period 25-28 August, as well as follow-up meetings on land on 17 October and 3 December 2008.

Draugen (source: Shell)

The audit was also part of a multi-national series of audits conducted in cooperation with the supervisory authorities in the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF). Work supervision was a priority area for NSOAF in 2008 and in this audit, work supervision was linked to management of operational barriers.

In 2008, similar audit activities within this topic were conducted in four operating companies on the Norwegian shelf.

Under the direction of NSOAF, a joint report will be prepared covering this multi-national series of audits, which will be completed during the course of spring 2009.

Background for the audit
The background for the audit is the PSA's goal of working to reduce factors that contribute to the risk of major accidents, NSOAF’s multi-national series of audits on work supervision, as well as information from previous follow-up activities with Shell, including:

  • Experience gained from the audit of the technical condition of barriers on Draugen, November 2003
  • Information provided about Shell's work on barrier management and learning through e.g. Total Reliability (TR), Facility Status Report (FSR), follow-up of risk analyses and the “Deep Learning” philosophy.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to obtain an overview of Shell's processes and systems that contribute to ensuring comprehensive management of technical and operational barriers on Draugen, and to evaluate this in relation to applicable requirements.

Central topics of the audit were:

  • Processes to map technical and operational barriers and systems in place for following up results
  • System for highlighting the status of technical barriers, and procedures for using this information in the management of activities on the facility
  • System and method for ensuring necessary competence and understanding of risk through recruiting, education, training and further development of supervisors
  • Framework conditions for work supervisors within operations and maintenance.

Result of the audit
In recent years, Shell has implemented several activities that have contributed to improvement of the HSE results on Draugen. We have also noted that the company is engaged in a continuing effort to improve mapping and follow-up of barriers, barrier performance and highlighting the technical condition of barriers for use in managing the activities on the facility.

In the NSOAF part of the audit, interviews and conversations with both land and offshore personnel were used to gain insight into how Shell facilitates the management of operational barriers through operational work supervision.

Shell has established and promoted a formalised selection process for operational supervisors at all levels, based on given criteria linked to both professional expertise and leadership qualities. Competence plans are established and followed up in a managed process that includes both Shell and Aker personnel.

Prior to the audit, an anonymous case description was sent to Shell and the platform organisation was asked to review this, in part to identify technical and operational barriers that can help reduce the likelihood of a similar incident occurring on Draugen. The results of this review were presented during our stay offshore.

No nonconformities were discovered during the audit, but we see that Shell does have some areas with potential for improvement as regards follow-up of technical condition, and procedures for managing activities, competence and understanding of risk on the facility.