Shortage of Capacity and Competence Must Trigger Warning Lights

Capacity and competence have become scarce commodities. At the same time, the petroleum industry is characterized by more and more new companies and many projects. At the press conference on 31 January, the PSA director Magne Ognedal emphasized that this work must be postponed if the companies are not able to implement upcoming projects in a prudent manner.

At the PSA's press conference, the PSA director summed up the year 2007 and outlined several of the challenges facing the Norwegian oil and gas industry, and the hard copy of the PSA publication "Safety status and signals" was released as well.

New developments of old fields, modifications and lifetime extensions constitute a number of work and resource-intensive tasks, in addition to regular operations. "The shortage of capacity and competence - in combination with increasing new projects, both small and large - are among the most important safety challenges facing the petroleum industry."

"Some of the players do not appear to be sufficiently familiar with the duties that follow along with their rights. Resource-intensive projects must lead the companies to ask themselves whether the total of their tasks can be carried out in a prudent manner. If the answer is no, then the work must be postponed," Ognedal confirms.

Ognedal particularly emphasized that the solutions cannot be found in new regulations, but in the accountability of the players themselves.

Fundamental understanding of risk is a prerequisite for preventing major accidents, including technical integrity and barriers. "More than anything, there must be an awareness and knowledge on the part of corporate management as regards which factors contribute to increased risk," says the PSA director.

Ognedal also points to StatoilHydro who, with its 80 percent of the activities on the Norwegian shelf, have a substantial impact on the risk level - and must succeed - if Norway is to reach its goal of being a world leader in HSE.

"The PSA has noted with anticipation that StatoilHydro wants to take the best from both companies and improve performance as regards safety. It will be difficult to achieve this when new groups of competent employees are likely to accept the voluntary resignation package and leave the company. There is a risk that entire technical groups will be lost. In today's market it is extremely difficult to recruit new employees with comparable expertise," Ognedal points out.

Several HSE challenges are discussed in the PSA publication Safety status and signals. The articles sum up the year that has passed, and address topics of importance for health, safety and environment in the oil and gas industry in the future.

In the magazine you can also read more about topics such as safety in relation to CO2 capture, challenges in integrated operations (IO), extended reach wells, failing maintenance and vulnerable employee groups.


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