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Safety challenges across national borders

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway's participation in international arenas for inter-agency cooperation shows that current challenges in the petroleum industry are common to most countries.

Three important arenas for inter-agency cooperation on the international scale are the International Regulators' Forum (IRF), the North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF) and the Arctic Offshore Regulators Forum (AORF).

This forum is a meeting place for the heads of agencies with official responsibility for health, safety and the environment in the petroleum activities of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and the USA.

At the annual meeting in October 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, the countries reported on important ongoing matters and outlooks. Discussions of the various topics clearly show that many of the safety challenges are common to most countries. Safety in a low-price scenario is one of the key topics of the discussions.

The IRF has set up three working groups with participation from selected countries. The topics for the working groups are safety performance measurement, technical condition and safety culture.

In addition to the exchange of experience and views at the annual meetings, there is ongoing contact between the countries throughout the year. This contact takes place at both managerial level and in the technical realm.

In addition to the autumn annual meeting, in recent years, the IRF has organised a meeting in association with the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston in early May. This year's meeting was on 1 May, and, among other things, brought participants up to speed on the status of work initiated in the wake of the annual meeting.
Link to the IRF website

Like the IRF, the NSOAF is a forum for the heads of the safety authorities, in this case of the countries surrounding the North Sea.

As with the IRF, the cooperation here demonstrates the commonality of many of the problems. Some of these are more specific than for the IRF, in that the North Sea countries have particular challenges relating to environmental concerns in the North Sea and the High North.

Much of the work in the NSOAF takes place in two working groups and two network groups. In 2017, the HSE Working Group is organising a so-called "Multinational audit". The theme of this common audit is the safe operation and maintenance of ageing facilities. The audit is being performed by means of individual inspections by the participating countries in a selected area. The results and experiences of the countries involved will then be compared and a joint report prepared. Such joint audits have been undertaken several times in the past and provide the participating countries with valuable experience and knowledge.

This is a cooperative forum for the safety authorities in the Arctic countries, with active participation from Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the USA. Its purpose is to discuss and evaluate safety-related threats and opportunities in the High North, in order to promote a high level of safety in petroleum activities in the Arctic.

The forum had its official start-up meeting in April/May 2015 in Washington D.C. The first ordinary meeting took place during the Arctic Safety Summit in Tromsø in October 2015. The forum holds biannual meetings. The spring meeting was in Helsinki, Finland on 19-20 April 2017.