Gå til hovedinnhold

RNNP 2018: positive trend in important areas

Figures from the annual trends in risk level in the petroleum activity (RNNP) survey for 2018 reveal progress in important areas, and the overall major accident indicator is at its lowest-ever level. “We’re moving in the right direction,” says Anne Myhrvold, director general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).

She describes the results as gratifying. “At the same time, areas exist with a clear need for improvement.”

The level of safety in the Norwegian petroleum industry is high, says Myhrvold, and notes that much good work is being done. “This year’s RNNP findings for the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) show progress in a number of areas.

“We see a positive trend for the major accident risk, including fewer hydrocarbon leaks. We also experienced no fatal accidents last year while seeing a reduction in personal injuries on the NCS.

“A positive trend was observed in a number of important areas, and we see that a collective, purposeful commitment to reducing hydrocarbon leaks yields positive results.”

Too many
Myhrvold nevertheless observes that too many hydrocarbon leaks, well control incidents, accidents with dropped objects, personal injuries and other serious incidents still take place every single year.

“We can’t rest content with this. That’s not good enough. The industry and the companies are responsible for continously improving safety. We expect a long-term an purposeful commitment.

“The industry must also make active, constructive and purposeful use of the RNNP results to achieve improvements in all parts of the industry.”

She calls not least for clearer signs of improvements in the RNNP results from the eight land-based petroleum plants which fall within the PSA’s jurisdiction.

“We unfortunately see an increase in the frequency of serious personal injuries at these facilities. Moreover, the number of incidents with a major accident potential has been stable there for a long time.

“I would urge the plant owners and the industry to look more closely at the results here, and identity why they are not moving the right direction and what is required to achieve an improvement.”

Major accident risk offshore
No major accidents occurred on the NCS in 2018.

The number of near-misses with a potential to become major accidents has displayed a positive trend since 2002. There were 31 such incidents in 2018, the lowest level recorded since measurements began.

Seven unignited hydrocarbon leaks were recorded in 2018, compared with 10 the year before. This is the second-lowest level so far registered. Five years have now passed since the last time a hydrocarbon leak occurred in the most serious category (more than 10 kilograms per second).

Of the 14 well control incidents recorded in 2018, 13 were in the lowest risk category and one ranked as medium risk.

Six incidents of damage to structures and maritime systems were registered, compared with five in 2017.

The overall indicator for major accident risk, which reflects the industry’s ability to manage factors influencing risk, is at its lowest-ever level.

Where barrier data were concerned, the 2018 RNNP shows that big differences continue to exist between individual offshore facilities and land-based plants.

For the industry as a whole, a number of barriers which previously underperformed in relation to the sector’s own requirements have shown a persistently positive trend while some barrier elements have developed in a negative direction at industry level in recent years.

Results for 2018 show that virtually all barrier elements performed better than the industry’s own requirements. That could mean the attention paid to barrier management in the sector over recent years is also yielding results in this area.

Maintenance management
The level of overall planned but not executed preventive maintenance on the permanent facilities increased from 2017, even though the number of hours devoted to such work rose in 2018.

Expressed in hours, the time lag for HSE-critical equipment was among the highest-ever last year. However, the lag in preventive maintenance for the great majority of facilities and land plants is small.

Incidents related to major accidents at the land plants
Ten near-misses with an inherent major accident potential occurred at the eight land plants in 2018, compared with nine the year before. Seven of these were unignited hydrocarbon leaks, two were ignited hydrocarbon leaks, and one was a fire unrelated to the process. This number of near-misses has been relatively stable for several years.

Personal injuries and accidents
No fatal accidents occurred on the NCS or at the land plants in 2018.

The NCS had 193 reportable personal injuries in 2018, compared with 204 the year before.  Of these, 25 (29) were categorised as serious. Serious personal injuries per million work-hours came to 0.6 (0.9) in 2018.

Nine incidents which qualified as serious personal injuries were reported at the land plants in 2018, compared with six the year before. Serious personal injuries per million work-hours came to 1.1, up from 2017, and this frequency is now at its highest since 2013.

Qualitative study
A questionnaire-based survey is conducted in the RNNP every other year. The results for 2015-17, presented last year, showed a clear negative trend in the way employees offshore and at the land plants assessed the HSE climate, and how they experienced risk and a number of working environment indicators.

The PSA has subsequently conducted a field study with interviews and observations in selected areas to learn more about the reasons for this development, how the results are to be understood, and how this can be followed up.

According to the study, employee assessments and considerations are consistent and accord with the negative trends in the questionnaire survey. It identified a number of unintended effects which could have negative safety consequences

The study indicated challenges in the industry which could present negative safety-related challenges, including:

  • a reduced level of trust in collaboration between different player groups
  • negative consequences for expertise and continuity from downsizing, replacement and rotation of personnel
  • inappropriate use of key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • unintended consequences of changes to maintenance programmes and organisation.

Where the industry as a whole is concerned, introducing many changes and measures over a relatively short space of time will make it challenging to maintain a good overview of the risk picture.

Questionnaire-based survey – diving personnel
Diving personnel were invited for the first time in 2018 to participate in a questionnaire-based survey in the RNNP. Most of the questions were the same as those in the main survey, but a number were also tailored specifically to diving personnel.