PSA Approves Partial Start-up on Snorre

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has given the green light for start-up of Snorre SPS (Subsea Production System) and Vigdis. Work continues to obtain confirmation of the full security picture on Snorre A following the subsea gas blowout on November 28th, but the satellites' start-up is no longer affected by this.

The authorities have held a number of meetings with Statoil following the incident in well P-31. At the same time, the operating company has been working to re-establish conditions for a consent to use Snorre-A.

Both the investigation and the work to normalize conditions have been delayed due to the poor weather and technical problems. Statoil has therefore drawn up an alternative plan for production start-up, where opening Snorre SBS and Vigids are the first steps.

The PSA is of the view that Statoil has now confirmed that production from the satellites is satisfactory from the view of safety.

In its report and letters to the PSA, Statoil has outlined a three-stage plan for returning to normal production at Snorre A.

After the satellites' start-up, the operating company wants the PSA's go-ahead for re-starting production from the platform wells, and then for start-up of drilling and well activities from the Snorre A facility.

The PSA will consider the conditions for the last two stages separately when we receive formal requests regarding this from Statoil.

The investigation

The PSA established a special investigation group following the blowout on Snorre A. The blowout is one of the most serious incidents on the Norwegian Shelf ever.

The group presented an internal, unofficial partial report on 20 December, which set out the terms for the remainder of the investigation. The work is comprehensive, but the PSA is giving it high priority. It is so far unclear when the report will be ready.

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