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Supervision concerning choice of materials - Ormen Lange

The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has carried out a supervision of the work of Norsk Hydro Produksjon a.s. (NH) in choosing materials for its subsea installation and pipelines for Ormen Lange.

The supervision was conducted through meetings and discussions with personnel in the Ormen Lange project organisation during the period 20 - 22 August 2003.

Background for the supervision

Key objectives for the NPD's follow-up of HES are to ensure that the players facilitate and maintain technical integrity on installations, and to contribute to the transfer of experience between the players.

Furthermore, one of the NPD's goals is to help minimise costs associated with the risk of material damage and accidental shutdowns.

In the last few years there have been a number of incidents on the Norwegian shelf that demonstrate a lack of robustness in the materials chosen for subsea installations and pipelines.

The Ormen Lange development contains subsea solutions with challenging system designs in deep water. The lifetime for the subsea installation has been set at 30 years, with 50 years for the pipelines. Stringent requirements for regularity and poor accessibility for maintenance mean that robust solutions are needed.

The purpose of the supervision

The goal of this supervision was to verify that NH is using well-qualified solutions for subsea installations and pipelines in the Ormen Lange project, thus meeting the current requirements in the petroleum regulatory requirements.

It is also a goal to ensure that the management systems help involve the right competence at the right time, and that there is satisfactory communication with associated disciplines so that robust solutions are chosen.

The result of the supervision

Our main impression is that NH in this early phase has paid attention to the choice of materials, and that the project so far has worked systematically to identify and handle the challenges in this area.

We can see some room for improvement associated with the management of technological qualifications and the transfer of experience, etc.