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Notification of order to Norsk Hydro and Prosafe following serious incident involving personal injury on Oseberg B

Norsk Hydro as operator and Prosafe Drilling Services as drilling contractor have been issued notifications of orders following a serious incident in connection with a lifting operation on Oseberg B on 26 April this year. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway's investigation has revealed several breaches of the regulations.


On 26 April 2005, a person was struck by a drill pipe weighing approx. 600 kg, which fell from the pipe handling crane during an operation to move pipe on Norsk Hydro's Oseberg B facility. The person suffered serious head injuries. If circumstances had been only marginally altered, the incident could have resulted in a fatality.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) decided to investigate the incident, and was also asked to provide assistance to the police.

The direct cause of the accident is that a drill pipe which was being transported in the pipe handling crane, broke loose from the magnetic yoke and struck a person in the head. This person was inside of the area that had been cordoned off.

The PSA's investigation has revealed several breaches of the regulations.

The underlying causes of the incident are summarized as follows:

  • Deficient management of operations on the pipe deck

  • Deficient compliance with procedures for lifting operations

  • Deficient training

  • Deficient document management

  • Technical weaknesses in the pipe handling crane

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Identified nonconformities from the regulations relate both to the operator Norsk Hydro and to the drilling contractor Prosafe Drilling Services.

Notification of order to Norsk Hydro:

According to the regulations, Norsk Hydro is responsible for ensuring that conditions are facilitated so that the operations on the pipe deck can take place in accordance with the regulatory requirements. Based on the nonconformities uncovered in our investigation, Norsk Hydro must review its lifting operations on the Oseberg B pipe deck in order to identify and implement necessary measures to ensure that such operations are conducted in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

Based on this review, Norsk Hydro shall investigate whether the deficiencies uncovered on Oseberg B also apply to other Hydro-operated facilities, as well as implement necessary measures to rectify this, if applicable.

Notification of order to Prosafe:

Prosafe Drilling Services, as drilling contractor on Oseberg B, is responsible for ensuring that operations on the pipe deck are carried out in accordance with regulatory requirements. Based on the nonconformities uncovered in our investigation, the company must review its operations on the Oseberg B pipe deck, as well as identify and implement necessary measures to ensure that such operations are carried out in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

Based on this review, Prosafe Drilling Services shall also carry out investigations to clarify whether the deficiencies uncovered on the Oseberg B pipe deck also apply to other Norsk Hydro facilities where the company is involved, and to implement necessary measures to rectify this, if applicable.

For both companies, the deadline for preparing a plan for complying with the order is set at four weeks from when the order is issued. The deadline for implementing measures is set at 1 October 2005. The PSA is to be informed when the order has been executed.

Press contact in the PSA:
Ole-Johan Faret
Tel.: +47 416 83 546
E-mail: ole-johan.faret@ptil.no