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PSA Norway to review well integrity, design/construction, emergency preparedness

Posted on 01 July 2010

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has established a framework for reviewing US government findings on the Macondo accident and is considering possible consequences for Norway.

The PSA has compared Norwegian regulations with preliminary conclusions drawn by US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in his 27 May report to President Obama. Although the comparison showed that Norwegian regulations met nearly all the preliminary recommendations already, the PSA is initiating analyses of the following areas relating to Norway’s oil sector:

• Well integrity, including:

- Organisational factors, such as education, training and qualifications of personnel performing critical functions in planning and executing well operations.

- Operational and technical management systems for well control.

- Operational and maintenance requirements for blowout preventers (BOPs). Existing systems for setting BOP certification requirements will also be assessed.

• Well design and construction. Part of this work will be conducted in cooperation with the Well Integrity Forum (WIF), which was established on the PSA’s initiative in 2006. This forum reports to the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) and has already worked on many of the issues outlined above.

• Emergency preparedness and response principles relevant to halting a possible subsea blowout in Norway.

PSA project team

The PSA established a project team on 7 May in response to the Macondo incident in the Gulf of Mexico. The goal is to systematise and assess experience gained and investigatory findings from this incident in order to secure lessons and improvements for the NCS.

Areas where improvements might be required will be identified by evaluating the causes of the accident in relation to requirements in Norwegian regulations. Information from the accident will also be assessed by the team with regard to possible measures that might be directed at players in the Norwegian petroleum industry.

The project team will also:

• Identify and assess all safety and emergency preparedness conditions related to the Macondo accident and clarify its scope and causes, as well as the course of events.

• Identify and describe observations of the direct and underlying causes, as well as non-conformances with requirements and procedures.

• Describe the actual consequences of the accident, including harm to people, material and financial assets, and the environment (duration and quantity of discharges).

• Contribute to informing other players and government agencies.

• Develop proposals for the risk group organised under the Ministry of the Environment.

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