Statoil: Heimdal Platform Gas Leak Was 'Serious'

Norwegian major Statoil announced Wednesday that it has submitted to Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority an internal investigation report into the Heimdal platform gas leak, which occurred on May 26 this year.

Statoil said that its investigation concluded that the incident was a serious gas leak, which lasted for four minutes and emitted around 3,500 kilograms of gas. But it pointed out that there had been no threat to the Heimdal platform's main safety functions of integrity. Both the emergency response and automatic safety systems on the platform worked as intended and no-one was physically harmed during the incident, it added.

At the time, there were 98 people on board the platform and personnel on board were mustered to lifeboats in accordance with emergency procedures.

"Statoil is working systematically to avoid incidents and our HSE results show that we have improved in this area," commented Jannicke Nilsson, head of operations for Statoil in the North Sea west region, in a company statement. "The Heimdal incident is still a strong reminder of the need for continuous learning and improvement in our operations."

Statoil said that the cause of the incident was a complex chain of events that included errors in the original design, insufficient planning and a failure to communicate. The company added that it implemented precautionary measures immediately following the incident, including design improvements and an updating of system drawings as well as improvements directed at the way the company assesses risk.

"We believe that this improvement work has had a positive effect. However, the Heimdal incident has revealed that we need to strengthen this work further. We will continue pursuing our effort within these improvement areas in addition to the measures identified after the Heimdal incident," added Nilsson.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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