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Supervision - gas leaks on the Norne field

In the period 13 - 14 May and 26 - 27 August 2003, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) conducted a supervision activity directed towards the Norne organization's follow-up of gas leaks.

Background for the supervision

The background for conducting the supervision activity is the general increase in the number of reported gas leaks on the Norwegian shelf in the period 1998-2002.

The number of gas leaks reported by Statoil has increased in the period 1998-2001, and Norne reported the incident with the largest leak rate on the Norwegian shelf in 2002.

Based on the development in the NPD's report ">Trends in the risk level - Norwegian shelf Phase 3 2002, the NPD's management organized a meeting with representatives from the industry.

A letter from the NPD dated 18 June 2003, confirms an agreement on a target of a 50% reduction of gas leaks with a leak rate of >0.1 kg/s on the Norwegian shelf in the course of two years.

The purpose of the supervision

The purpose of the supervision was to evaluate the Norne organization's daily follow-up of gas leaks, including registration, internal and external reporting, identification of causes, establishment, handling and closing of measures.

In addition, implemented and planned actions for prevention of gas leaks on Norne were evaluated.

The result of the supervision

There is major focus on gas leaks in the Norne organization, and a number of actions have been implemented that contribute to increased focus and prevention of incidents classified as gas leaks, particularly a demo (nitrogen nozzle) of small gas leaks under high pressure, gas detection coverage, automatic release of deluge upon confirmed gas detection in the compressor area, installation of a VOC facility, and replacement of Bonny Forge valves as a result of lessons learned from Åsgard B.

An improvement potential was, however, identified in analyses for prevention of incidents. Targets for implementation and any results have not been communicated in the organization.

It was also unclear how potential recommendations are to be followed up.

A declining trend in the number of gas leaks does not, however, mean that a major gas leak cannot occur. In the period 1997 - 2002 the Norne organization reported 0 - 2 incidents per year to the NPD. On 19 April 2002 Norne reported a gas leak with the greatest leak rate on the Norwegian shelf that year. This shows how important it is to be pro-active and prevent incidents.