DNV Heading Project to Harmonize Industry Standards for the Barents Sea

The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has invited Det Norske Veritas (DNV) to head up a project of harmonizing industry standards for health, safety and the environment for the Barents Sea. Both Russian and Norwegian participants will be involved. The standards will contribute to a level of safety at least as high as that in the North Sea and which also takes into account the demanding conditions in the High North. The project is the first to be realized under the "Barents 2020" initiative, with a budget of NOK 27 million.

The objective is to ensure that current and future oil and gas activities and shipping movements in the Barents Sea are undertaken in accordance with standards that are appropriate for the extreme conditions that exist in the Arctic. DNV will be heading up the project of harmonizing a set of industry standards to apply on both sides of the Russian-Norwegian border covering the health, safety and the environmental aspects. The aim is also to arrive at standards that are seen as relevant by the industry, both in Norway and Russia.

The Snohvit field will later this year become the first in the Barents Sea to produce oil. More will be following in the years to come, on both the Norwegian and the Russian sides. Oil companies, the service industry and shipowners who transport oil and gas need appropriate standards to ensure that production and transport are carried out safely and securely.

DNV will head up the project of improving and harmonizing industry standards to be used on both sides of the border. This work will also provide a basis for closer partnership between the Norwegian and Russian authorities on legislation and regulations applicable to the Barents Sea.

Expert groups

The work will comprise three phases. The first is to map out existing industry standards. A workshop will then be arranged to conclude on those problems that are critical and need to be prioritized. In the last phase, expert groups will be established to propose specific recommendations for standards. Both Norwegian and Russian potential participants have expressed their interest to take part.

The project will last three years and have a budget of NOK 27 million. The Norwegian authorities are financing the first two phases (approx. NOK 10 million). For the last phase industrial participants will be contributing 50% of the financing. DNV has contacted relevant Norwegian participators and received positive feedback on the project proposal. DNV will also be drawing on its close links with Russian companies, including Gazprom, Lukoil, Rosneft, shipowners and the Russian Register – the Russian classification society.

This is the first major project to be realized under the "Barents 2020" initiative, which is an important instrument in the Norwegian Government's High North program.