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The far north

Petroleum operations on the northernmost part of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) must be conducted in an acceptable manner and safeguard people, the environment and material assets.

The far northern waters of the NCS are sensitive and demanding areas, and introduce new and additional risks which must be managed in order to operate acceptably.

Natural conditions on the northernmost NCS present challenges related to technological and operational solutions, emergency preparedness, logistics, personal equipment/clothing, geography, access to rigs and equipment, rig quality, collaboration over rigs, winterisation and transport solutions.

Petroleum operations in the far north are set to increase in coming years – both on the NCS and on other continental shelves. Important decisions will be taken about activities in this region in the time to come, and we at the PSA have a crucial role to play in these.

The industry

  • The industry must have the necessary overview of and control over the most important contributors to major accident risk, harm to the natural environment, and occupational ill-health and injuries related to operations in the far north.
  • A proactive and systematic approach must be taken by the companies to developing their knowledge and to learning from research, development and experience of far northern operations. Attention must be concentrated on filling knowledge gaps.
  • The industry must come up with and continue to develop robust technical and operational solutions for maintaining an acceptable level of safety.
  • Collaboration is the key to good safety in far northern operations, with a binding and specific cooperation deals needed between the companies.
  • Industry associations must work for common solutions, while companies, unions and government contribute to good and well-functioning tripartite collaboration over challenges in the far north.


  • We will help to ensure that the industry works for a coherent and robust approach to far northern challenges.
  • We set strict standards for and have great expectations to the companies which will be operating in far north, with its climatic and geographical challenges.
  • In addition, we will check that the players are contributing to the development of new knowledge about and better solutions for safety, emergency response and the working environment in the far north. Each player, and the industry as a whole, must pursue serious, secure and inclusive workplaces.
  • We will continue to develop collaboration with other relevant government agencies in our area of authority in the far north, and also extend our collaboration with the authorities in other Arctic nations.
  • During 2014, we will assess the need for adjustments to/updating of the regulations, and follow up standardisation efforts for Arctic operations.