Statoil Ordered to Pay Record Fine

A penalty notice of NOK 80 million has been served on Statoil in the wake of the gas blowout which occurred on 28 November last year on the Snorre A platform in the North Sea.

This decision was conveyed to the group today, 24 November, by the public prosecutor for Rogaland county, which embraces Stavanger.

“For the moment, we have taken note of the public prosecutor’s announcement,” says Terje Overvik, executive vice president for Statoil’s Exploration & Production Norway business area.

“We’ll be taking time to study the principles behind this decision, and are accordingly unable to make any further comment.”

A special in-house action team dealing with the Snorre incident has prepared a causal analysis, which was submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) on 1 November.

This will be followed up in the near future by an expanded programme of measures, due to be presented to the PSA on 1 December.

“I’m pleased with the way the whole organisation has got to grips with this difficult affair,” says Mr Overvik.

The Snorre operations organisation is now reviewing the planning and drilling of wells in line with Statoil’s best practice.

Steps have been taken to strengthen the quality of planning and risk assessment work on Snorre A, and its organisation both on land and offshore has also been reinforced.

Better training on Statoil’s governing documents has been instituted for the field, and a special project is working to improve and simplify in-house procedures in the group.

Making production facilities on Snorre even more robust will also form part of the action plan now under preparation.

The direct cause of the incident on the A platform was a suction effect which arose in a well and drew gas directly in from the reservoir when an additional liner was pulled out.

Nobody was injured during the affair, but production was shut down for more than six weeks.

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