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Investigation of hydrocarbon leak in utility shaft on Statfjord A

On Saturday, 24 May 2008, a hydrocarbon leak occurred in one of the shafts on the Statfjord A facility in the North Sea. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has investigated the incident which, in our opinion, could have developed into a major accident under slightly different circumstances. Based on our findings in this investigation, we have issued a notification of order to StatoilHydro, Industrikonsult AS (IK) and Aker Solutions AS (Aker).


The incident occurred during modification work in the utility shaft on Statfjord A when a 2” plug loosened, allowing significant volumes of crude oil to leak out.  This led to evaporation of significant amounts of hydrocarbon gas, resulting in an explosive atmosphere.

We have observed serious nonconformities in relation to regulatory requirements as regards how the risk aspects of the modification work and associated activities (project) were managed by the involved players (link to investigation report in the link box on the right).

The PSA has issued a notification of order to StatoilHydro as follows:
Pursuant to Section 3 of the Management Regulations relating to management of health, environment and safety and Section 5 of the Framework Regulations relating to responsibility according to these regulations, first subsection, cf. Section 58 of the Framework Regulations relating to individual decisions, StatoilHydro is ordered to review its routines for similar work operations, identify improvement measures and implement such measures by 1 November 2008.

The company shall also review and evaluate its management of modification projects to identify and implement further measures to improve such management.  This must be carried out by 1 December 2008.

The implemented measures must be followed up and measured to ensure that the desired effect is achieved.

The work shall take into consideration, but not be limited by, our investigation report following the incident.

The PSA must be notified when the order has been carried out.

The PSA has issued a notification of order to IK as follows:
Pursuant to Section 3 of the Management Regulations relating to management of health, environment and safety and Section 5 of the Framework Regulations relating to responsibility according to these regulations, first subsection, cf. Section 58 of the Framework Regulations relating to individual decisions, Industrikonsult AS is ordered to identify and implement measures to improve its management of activities, including compliance with applicable requirements for development and qualification of equipment and methods, ensuring necessary competence on the part of supervisory and executing personnel, as well as identification and handling of risk associated with execution of assignments.

The deadline for complying with the order is 1 December 2008.  The PSA must be notified when the order has been carried out.

The PSA has issued a notification of order to Aker as follows:
Pursuant to Section 3 of the Management Regulations relating to management of health, environment and safety and Section 5 of the Framework Regulations relating to responsibility according to these regulations, first subsection, cf. Section 58 of the Framework Regulations relating to individual decisions, Aker Solutions is ordered to identify and implement necessary improvements in the company's management of modification assignments, including identification of risk and use of information about risk in planning and executing hazardous work operations, including the selection of work methods and equipment, and follow-up of subcontractors.

The deadline for complying with the order is 1 December 2008.  The PSA must be notified when the order has been carried out.

We have asked the companies to provide an account by 1 December 2008 of how they have cooperated with other involved players, if applicable, in the improvement work that has been implemented.

The companies must forward any comments they may have regarding the notifications by 8 October 2008.