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“Cold challenges” - New report on health and working environment in the northern areas

Petroleum activity in the northern areas will entail greater challenges for personnel on the facilities than the current activity on the Norwegian shelf. A new status report shows how the harsh northern climate influences health and working environment and how the new challenges can be handled.


”Cold challenges – health and working environment on facilities in the northern areas” refers, e.g. to work that has been carried out in connection with the Barents 2020 program.

The objective of Barents 2020 includes the development of joint standards customised for activity in the northern areas.

More relating to Barents 2020 (external link) 

Presentation from Safety Forum 
 

Norwegian petroleum activities are moving further north and east. More year-round activity in these cold areas will lead to climatic and locality challenges that the petroleum industry has little experience with.

The report “Cold challenges – health and working environment on facilities in the northern areas” explores the most significant challenges associated with working in the harsh climate of the Barents Sea.

A number of climate factors will create challenges for the work in the petroleum industry in the northern areas, such as temperature, wind conditions, icing, polar low-pressure conditions, uncertain weather forecasts and darkness. In addition to climate, factors that can impact the body's temperature control include activity, technical climate protection measures/systems and clothing.

The critical climatic factors for the personnel are air temperature, radiant temperature, wind and humidity.

The most extreme incidents that can occur on a facility involve immersion accidents where someone falls into the sea. This is important knowledge, and a separate chapter has been devoted to this topic in the report.

The report includes new knowledge concerning the wind chill index, as well as standards/guidelines that have been developed in recent years.

Work in the northern-most areas entails exposure to extreme cold.
Combinations of demanding climate factors also make these problems relevant to areas further south, even though the cold exposure here is not as extreme as in the northern areas.

Much of the information in the report is therefore just as important for the seas off the coast of Haltenbanken.

In 1998, the Oil Industry International Exploration and Production Forum prepared the report “Health Aspects of Work in Extreme Climates within the E&P Industry”. This report described health-related issues associated with exposure to a cold climate, and provided a set of guidelines for activity in such climatic conditions.

The report ”Cold challenges – health and working environment on facilities in the northern areas”, discusses the same areas of concern/topics in light of with updated knowledge and with specific focus on work on facilities in the northern areas on the Norwegian shelf.

The report has been prepared by Thelma AS on assignment from the PSA.

For the purposes of this report, the term "the Northern areas" is in this the report defined to primarily include the southern and western parts of the Barents Sea. 

Contact information:
John Arne Ask, contact person
Epost: john.arne.ask@ptil.no