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The Petroleum Safety Authority requests that Statoil investigate lifeboat problems at Veslefrikk

On the night of 25 July 2005, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) was notified that a further two conventional lifeboats at Veslefrikk had such extensive damage that they had to be taken out of operation. PSA is now asking Statoil to investigate the handling of the deviation situation which arose after a skid-launched lifeboat failed in a test on 21 June this year at Veslefrikk.

In former reports on our website, the PSA has accounted for the problems that ensued when a free-fall lifeboat of the skid-launched type was damaged in a test on 21 June.

In connection with the processing of the exception for further operation on Veslefrikk B, two conventional lifeboats (lifeboat 4 and 5) were put into operation as compensation following the lapse of the skid-launched lifeboats.

On 6 July, however, a fault was discovered on the lowering system for the two conventional boats, and production had to shut down again. It was reported that the fault was repaired, and Veslefrikk was put into production again on 10 July.


Veslefrikk A (at left) and B (Photo: Øyvind Hagen, Statoil)

On Saturday 23 July production on the field was shut down again after Statoil discovered cracks in a conventional lifeboat at Veslefrikk A (lifeboat 7).

In addition to this, Statoil discovered late on Monday 25 July that lifeboat 4 and 5 at Veslefrikk B had serious damage from corrosion which was not discovered during the technical check in the beginning of July.

Request for investigation
PSA is concerned about the poor condition and the inadequate maintenance that has been uncovered on the conventional lifeboats at Veslefrikk. We are now requesting that Statoil commence an investigation of the company's handling of the deviation situation which arose after the lapse of the skid-launch boat on 21 June and the causes of the failure in the maintenance.

There is no direct link between the problems with the skid-launch boats and the damage to the conventional lifeboats.

The PSA considers that the work Statoil has started to review the problem with the skid-launch boats is progressing well, and will be of the expected thoroughness and quality.

Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Inger Anda
Tel.: +47 970 54 064