Seeking to learn from rig accident

Preventing major accidents has been main priority for Norway's oil sector in following up the Deepwater Horizon accident. The result is 45 specific recommendations for making the industry even safer.

Experts from Norway’s petroleum sector have worked intensively since the 2010 rig incident in the Gulf of Mexico to identify measures which can enhance safety on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Published by the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF), their report concludes that the NCS is characterised by a robust regulatory regime and that the oil and gas business works safely.

“There will nevertheless always be room for improvement,” affirms project manager Olav Skotheim. “Our most important recommendations concern updating drilling and well standards.”
“We have also looked at changes to management systems, how a possible blowout can be halted as quickly as possible and how to optimise efforts to clean up oil spills.”

Download the report and the summary report here.

Prevent
Skotheim notes that the project’s most important job has been to see what the petroleum sector can do on the NCS to prevent similar major accidents in these waters.

“Throughout the duration of the project, we have accordingly worked in parallel with efforts to introduce the improvements we propose.”

Investigations of the Deepwater Horizon event and other major accidents have revealed complex causes and many breaches to safety barriers ahead of an incident.

The measures proposed in the OLF report will help to make the industry more robust against major accidents caused by equipment faults or operational errors.

International cooperation
The Norwegian experts have reviewed thousands of pages of investigation reports and worked closely with the international oil and gas industry.

That has included a positive dialogue with the International Organisation for Oil and Gas Producers (OGP) and with the US authorities.

“The oil and gas industry is an international business,” says Skotheim. “It’s therefore been important to coordinate measures in Norway with those adopted elsewhere around the world.”

“We found at an early stage that the Norwegian industry has already put in place many of the elements identified in the US investigation reports. Additional measures have been included in our recommendations.”

Blowouts
Experience from Deepwater Horizon reveals a need for systems which can halt possible blowouts as soon as possible. That has prompted to establishment of the Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP).

Nine oil companies have joined forces in this endeavour to create equipment to shut down out-of-control wells as well as possible oil spill collection systems. The results will be made available to companies on the NCS.

A number of lessons have also been drawn on oil spill response. Recommendations from the experts are being implemented by the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (Nofo) on behalf of the industry.

Further information from:
Kjetil Hjertvik, communications manager for health, working environment, safety, security and operations, OLF, mobile: +47 92 23 70 69

 

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