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Statoil gets investigative report into Gullfaks drilling

Posted on 01 December 2010

The Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

The Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway presented its report of the investigation into the drilling and well operations on the Gullfaks field. “The non-conformances revealed and measures proposed in the Petroleum Safety Auhority (PSA) report are mainly consistent with the findings of our own investigation into the well C06 incident on the Gullfaks field 12 May this year,” says Statoil‘s Oystein Michelsen, executive vice president, Exploration and Production Norway.

Eighty-nine workers were evacuated from the platform, which lies in Norwegian waters, in May. The evacuation followed a sudden rise in gas pressure under the seabed.

Both Statoil’s own investigative report and the PSA report conclude that the planning of the drilling and completion operations in well C06 A was implemented with serious deficiencies. These relate to risk management and change control, the transfer of experience, the application of competency and knowledge, compliance with governing documentation, and documentation of decisions made.

“The PSA report also points out that the underlying causes should be more closely looked into. These considerations will be taken into account in our continuing incident follow-up efforts.” Statoil will set up a separate project consisting of management and employee representatives who will work on completing the measures implemented following the incident.

In the last 10 years Statoil has reduced the number of serious incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf by 80%.

“The PSA report on the level of risk on the Norwegian continental shelf for 2009 confirms that our safety level is high and that we are on the right track. But even though the trend is positive, what happened on Gullfaks demonstrates the need to intensify our efforts in order to prevent serious incidents,” said Michelsen.

The foremost measures following publication of the Statoil and PSA reports relate to risk analyses and acceptance criteria when complexity is greater, quality assurance and formalism in planning and decision making, and involvement of technical expertise.

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