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Audit of Idemitsu Petroleum Norge – well 35/7-1 S

During the period 22-31 March 2011, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of Idemitsu Petroleum Norge (IPN) aimed at planning and execution of activities in connection with the upcoming drilling of exploration well 35/7-1 S with the mobile facility Aker Barents.

IPN has used the services of drilling consultant companies to carry out the exploration drilling project, and has hired the mobile drilling facility Aker Barents in addition to suppliers of third party services in connection with drilling operations on the Norwegian shelf. IPN will take over and enter into the contracts for the facility when the company commences its own operations in well 35/7-1 S.

Well 35/7-1 is classified as a high temperature well as the reservoir temperature is in excess of 150 °C. This means that high pressure and high temperature procedures (HPHT) will be used during the operation.

35/7-1 S is the company’s first operated exploration well on the Norwegian shelf.

The PSA prioritises audit activities aimed at new players and their first drilling operation on the Norwegian shelf, with the objective of assessing how the players manage HSE in relation to their organisations and management systems, as well as technical and operational capacity and expertise.

The objective of the audit was to verify the company’s compliance with requirements related to management of health, safety and environment in the preparations for starting drilling operations with the Aker Barents facility.

The PSA’s main impression is that IPN has relied on the resources that are part of the drilling consulting company’s organisation, but that IPN has adequately carried out the management role that the company should have in accordance with the regulatory requirements related to the operator’s supervisory duty.

General responsibility for ensuring regulatory compliance is ultimately the company’s responsibility in connection with carrying out petroleum activities. The audit revealed three nonconformities and several improvement items related to the company’s management of and preparations for implementing the drilling operation with the Aker Barents.

These observations relate to IPN’s quality assurance and risk assessment of own activities, as well as how IPN safeguards its supervisory duty vis-à-vis contractors and suppliers.