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Landing safely

The NPD will become responsible for safety and the working environment in land-based petroleum activities from 1 January 2004. A unified and coordinated regulatory regime for the whole oil and gas industry is the aim.


This articles was published in ">The Norwegian Petroleum Diary No.1/2003
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The decision to extend the authority of the NPD and the new petroleum inspectorate* to land has been taken by the Ministry of Labour and Government Administration (AAD).

It covers the Kårstø, Sture, Kollsnes, Mongstad, Tjeldbergodden and Melkøya terminals and associated processing plants, and the Slagentangen refinery near Oslo. And these responsibilities will cover any future integrated offshore and land-based facilities in Norway, and other plants of this type.

The AAD's decision was taken after White Paper no 7 (2001-2002) on health, safety and the environment in petroleum operations had received Storting (parliamentary) approval.

This policy document identified the need for a regulatory regime which can take an integrated view of safety and the working environment, both offshore and on land.

Smooth
The NPD is well under way with organising a smooth transfer of official responsibility from the Directorate for Fire and Electrical Safety (DBE) and the Labour Inspection Authority (DAT).

"We and the ministry want this change to yield a rationalisation gain for both the authorities and the industry," explains NPD lawyer Linda Halvorsen.

Together with principal engineer Einar Ravnås and a number of other specialists at the agency, she is working to get everything ready for the transition.

"The new arrangement will not involve any unintended tightening of requirements for operations on land," she emphasises.

Closely
The NPD is cooperating closely with the DBE and the DAT on the hand-over.
"It's important that we can draw on the experience, views and expertise of both these agencies, and continue well-established arrangements," says Ms Halvorsen.

"A lot can be carried over, even though a new regulator is acquiring responsibility for this business from the New Year."

* The government's decision to divide the NPD and establish a separate petroleum inspectorate is described in White Paper no 17 (2002- 2003) on state regulatory agencies (in Norwegian only).