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Offshore Norway 2003: Positive HSE year

Press Release from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
The HSE accounts for 2003 are encouraging in many areas of the oil and gas activities. Most important of all, there were no fatalities within the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway's (PSA's) sphere of authority.

"We are, of course, satisfied with this, but we are cautious in drawing conclusions as regards the underlying risk of major and minor accidents," says PSA director Magne Ognedal.

He also notes that the decline in the number of reportable personal injuries has continued.

"However, there has been a marked increase in the number of injuries defined as first aid injuries, and we have to look into the causes of this," says Ognedal, who states that first aid injuries need not be reported to the PSA, but are reported in order to ensure that all rights can be exercised under the social security system.

Fewer gas leaks
A complete overview of gas leaks on the shelf will be published on 23 April, as part of the Risk Level Project. However, preliminary gas leak figures show a marked reduction compared with the same period last year, mostly for the minor leaks. There were no leaks in 2003 that were classified as "major".

"Nevertheless, the PSA is concerned about the extent of the gas leaks. Given the potential hazard that every single gas leak represents, this will always be a high-priority area for us. But we are satisfied with the fact that the industry now seems to take this problem seriously," says Ognedal.

The industry has made a commitment to cut the number of gas leaks during the period 2003-2005 in half compared with the previous three-year period.

One annual report - two agencies
Storting White Paper No. 17 "On State supervision" was presented just before Christmas 2002, and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) was the first of the affected agencies to implement a division.

The deadline for separating the HSE tasks from the Directorate was fixed at 1 January 2004. As from the same date, the responsibility for land facilities associated with the oil activities was assigned to the new Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.

"The Norwegian shelf - the NPD's annual report 2003" is thus special in the sense that it was prepared by two agencies that are now independent.

Nevertheless, in formal terms, the annual report for last year is the NPD's product, and the complete Internet version of the report can be read on the Directorate's web site. (Link to the NPD's press release)

The portion of the annual report that deals with health, safety and environment has also been published on the PSA's web site.

The year 2004 will also be characterized by adjustment and establishment of the new Petroleum Safety Authority Norway. The organization model, management and other functions will be in place no later than 1 July.

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Press spokesman in the PSA:
Inger Anda,
Tel (+47) 970 54 064