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Order for BP after investigation of hydrocarbon leak on Ula

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued an order to BP. This follows its investigation of the hydrocarbon leak on Ula on 12 September 2012, which identified serious breaches of the regulations.

The substantial hydrocarbon leak on the Ula P production installation at the southern end of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) had the potential to become a major accident, with the risk that a number of lives might have been lost and substantial material damage caused.

A number of serious regulatory breaches were identified by the PSA investigation. On that basis, the PSA gave BP notification of an order.

See Notification of order to BP after investigation of hydrocarbon leak on Ula

In accordance with the notification, the PSA has now issued the following order to BP:
Pursuant to section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions, see sections 6 of the management regulations on management of health, safety and the environment, 21 on follow-up and 22 on handling of nonconformities, BP is ordered to:

  • review BP’s management system for the NCS with a view to assessing whether it is adequate for identifying and managing risk, including an assessment of why the system has not been adequate for identifying and dealing with the nonconformities identified in the investigation of the leak on Ula. See chapter 8 of the report. The deadline for completing this review is set at 1 September 2013.
  • Assess whether measures planned and initiated after the fire on Valhall in 2011 and other improvement activities are relevant and collectively adequate in light of the nonconformities identified following the leak on Ula. The deadline for completing this review is set at 1 September 2013.

Measures identified under the two items above must be implemented by 31 December 2013. The PSA must be informed when the order has been carried out.

Explanation of the terms “order” and “notification of order”
An order is an administrative decision made pursuant to the regulations. Before the PSA issues an order, it usually submits a notification of order to the companies involved. 

A notification of order is neither a measure nor a warning of sanctions, but part of the PSA’s administrative process in accordance with the established rules of procedure. The notification is just a first step before an administrative decision is made.

An order is a powerful preventive measure and legally binding on the recipient.