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Clarification of the risk concept

Incidents occur every year in Norway’s petroleum industry which could have developed into a major accident under only slightly different circumstances. A clarification of the risk concept in the regulations could help to reduce these events.

The PSA hopes this move may contribute to cutting the number of serious incidents and to boosting the understanding of risk on the part of the companies.

Comprehending and managing risk are essential for avoiding hazardous events in the oil and gas sector, which uses risk analyses to get to grips with the hazard picture.

Such assessments build on a number of assumptions, experience and accumulated knowledge. But the question is how to determine whether the assumptions and expertise are sufficiently sound.

By clarifying that risk means the consequences of the activities, with associated uncertainty, the PSA wants to avoid important decisions being taken on too flimsy a basis.

“We must broaden our horizons, and accept that we can get a number of surprises if our understanding of the situation is too narrow,” says Bjørnar Heide, who led the PSA’s work on clarifying the risk concept.

The risk concept was spelt out more precisely as part of an updating of the regulations on 1 January 2015. It can be found in the guidelines to section 11 of the framework regulations on risk reduction principles.

This restatement imposes no new requirements. It accords with international standards, such as ISO 31000: 2009, and is accordingly not specific to Norway.