The intention behind the introduction of area emergency preparedness is to operate efficient emergency preparedness cooperation within geographical areas, and between different operating companies, by utilizing joint resources.
The work on area emergency preparedness has led to a new generation of standby vessels, first at Haltenbanken and then further developed for the Troll/Oseberg area. Fully equipped SAR helicopters have been stationed both on Haltenbanken and Troll/Oseberg.
In March 2002, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (now the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway) amended consents to introduce area emergency preparedness for the installations on Haltenbanken, with a trial period of two years. The PSA has conducted audits during this period to verify compliance with regulatory requirements, as well as to ensure that the conditions stipulated in the consents were fulfilled.
The cooperation among the various operators was presented during the audits, and joint resources were demonstrated. Although the resources have provided good and efficient preparedness, the audit revealed that there are several aspects that are not in place. This is described in the audit reports.
Several of the observations made will require work/further development before the area emergency preparedness reaches a satisfactory level. This applies particularly to cooperation and transfer of experience between the respective installations and operators.
As regards preparedness in relation to acute pollution, reference is made to the assessments made by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT). SFT notes that the reporting from the operating companies has not been adequate during the trial period.
A dialogue must be established during the extended trial period between SFT and the operating companies including review of practical experience with the established solution for mechanical skimmers, coordinated action among the operating companies and analytical foundations and operative solutions for dispersion.
On this basis, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has decided to extend the trial period by one year, until March 1, 2005.
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