Norway's PSA Issues Four Orders Relating to Valhall Incident

Valhall Field, North Sea
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The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued four notifications of orders to BP Norge after a serious incident involving personal injury on Valhall Flanke Nord on 2 April of this year. Our investigation shows that the most important underlying causes of the accident are both multiple in number and complex in nature, but all are linked to serious failures in BP's management system.

On 2 April 2004, a person was injured during a lifting operation on BP's Valhall Flanke Nord installation. The incident occurred when a telescopic crane (SIMOPS crane) bumped into a hatch on the West Epsilon drilling rig, which was alongside the platform.

The 357-kg hatch fell 15 meters and struck a man in the face and leg. His injuries were serious, but not life-threatening.

Three persons from the PSA traveled offshore to investigate the incident together with three representatives of the police.

On the basis of circumstances uncovered during the investigation, the PSA issued BP an immediate order to stop all crane operations of the type that caused the accident.

Further investigation revealed that the most important underlying causes of the accident were multiple in number and complex in nature, but all were linked to serious failures in BP's management system. (Link to article with order) The identified non-conformances include:

  • deficient control of program for implementation of FAT (Factory Acceptance Test), commissioning ("preparation for hand-over ") and certification for use. Changes have not been properly safeguarded in the preparation and implementation of the programs,
  • lack of personnel with crane expertise and competence in BP, both in the land organization and on the installations,
  • deficient handling of non-conformances,
  • deficient control of user documentation on the installation,
  • BP used the SIMOPS crane without identifying faults in the safety systems,
  • deficient control of competence needed to operate the SIMOPS crane,
  • deficient risk assessment when planning repairs of the safety systems.

  • The investigation also uncovered violations of procedures that show that BP still has a potential for improvement in this area.

    Based on the investigation of the incident on Valhall Flanke Nord, the PSA hereby gives notice of the following orders:

    1: BP is ordered to secure necessary manning with crane expertise and competence, both in the land organization and on the installations.

    2: BP is ordered to verify its system for safeguarding its supervision obligation. The operator must ensure that all parties who perform work for it conform to the requirements laid down in HSE legislation.

    3: BP is ordered to follow up and further develop its management system to ensure compliance with requirements laid down in HSE legislation, including also ensuring that changes in projects are followed up through testing and commissioning.

    4: BP is ordered to follow up suppliers' management systems so that testing and commissioning are carried out and necessary documentation is available when starting operations.

    The deadline for complying with the orders is 1 October 2004.

    The report contains identified non-conformances and observations of situations where there is a potential for improvement. We also request that these items be assessed by 1 October 2004.

    The PSA also asks that BP forward the report to the following players for comments:

  • Smedvig
  • Schumberger
  • Heerema Tønsberg AS
  • National Oilwell Grandfjaera 25
  • Allum Marine AS

  • BP shall coordinate the response from the various players. Please prepare the response to the PSA in the form of a presentation with contributions from the respective players.

    We also request an explanation of how these orders will be handled in relation to the orders issued after the accident on Gyda in 2002.

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