Norwegian PSA in NCS Safety Warning

Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority announced Monday it is concerned that the volume of work on the Norwegian Continental Shelf could affect safety in the petroleum industry. The PSA is worried about the industry's ability to tailor its level of activity to the available capacity and expertise, it said.

"Sufficient expertise and capacity are crucial for maintaining the level of safety," said Ingvill Hagesæther Foss, a director of supervision at the PSA, in a statement.

The PSA pointed out that new developments, modifications and measures to extend field life add a great deal of labor and resource-intensive work on top of normal production and maintenance jobs. Capacity and expertise shortfalls have been in the PSA's sights for a number of years with some players failing to understand what it takes to operate acceptably on the NCS, the regulator said. It has twice had to reject applications for exploration drilling consent over the past decade because the operator failed to make the grade.

For example, in 2007, the PSA turned down an application from DNO for exploration work on production license 305 in the North Sea involving the Bredford Dolphin (mid-water semisub) rig, after it deemed DNO having not been "in possession of the required competence and capacity in their preparation". (However, later in 2007 the PSA did give its consent to DNO for it to use the same rig on production license 341.)

"That's occurred from time to time, but fortunately it's rare. This isn't a role which we as a supervisory agency desire to play. We don't want to receive applications from players who haven't the expertise or the capacity to implement the relevant projects," added Foss, who stressed that it is up to companies themselves to assess whether they have enough people, and sufficient knowledge and experience, to do the work safely and in compliance with regulations.





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