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Audit reveals failure in maintenance management

Audits of several players in the petroleum industry have revealed extensive failure in maintenance management. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) takes a serious view of the non-conformities and expects a clear improvement in the industry.

The non-conformities were reviewed and discussed with representatives from the players during a meeting with the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway on 27 June.

The non-conformities, particularly the deficient criticality classification of systems and equipment on the facilities, entail that the industry does not have a good enough overview of what must be maintained. Similarly, there is not a good enough overview of how extensive and resource-intensive the need for maintenance is, and what risks the personnel carrying out maintenance work are exposed to.

This makes it difficult to form a realistic picture of risk as a decision basis for maintenance management.

Not good enough
The PSA conducted audits of four operators and one drilling contractor in the course of 2006 and 2007. The observations show that the players do not have good enough control as to whether the maintenance programs correspond to the risk of accidents and major accidents. The competence requirement is also lacking or deficient, despite such competence being critical to safety.

The lack of a decision basis for maintenance management may lead to choosing the wrong strategy for optimization needs in the future. Optimization as a result of changes in production and lifetime extensions for facilities used beyond the time they have been designed for, is a highly relevant issue on the shelf today.

In accordance with the general rule, facilities are to be maintained in such a manner that they are able to perform intended functions during all phases of their lifetime. Preventive maintenance is therefore to prevent faults from occurring that have consequences for HSE and negative results for the external environment, operational regularity and material assets.

The objective of maintenance management is inter alia to identify critical functions and ensure that safety-critical barriers function when needed. The players thus need usable and cost-effective maintenance methods that are based on the failure pattern of the equipment, i.e. how it can fail in various connections.

Erroneous planning, execution or control of maintenance may lead to faults occurring in a system. Deficient maintenance may lead to faults that have already occurred or degradations not being discovered and corrected. In other words, deficient maintenance may be a contributing cause of production shutdown, work accidents and/or major accidents.

Joint effort
Storting Report No. 7 (2001-2002) points out that it is necessary to further develop management models for operations and maintenance in cooperation with the industry.

This is to ensure a joint effort to strengthen the quality of maintenance in the petroleum industry, in part by further developing methods, technology, competence and research.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Inger Anda, press spokesperson
E-mail: inger.anda@ptil.no
Telephone: +47 970 54 064