Aker BP ordered to get consent before using W2W vessel on Tambar

Norwegian offshore safety body, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), has given a notice of order to Aker BP regarding obtaining consent before using a W2W vessel for accommodation on the Tambar field offshore Norway.

Tambar platform; Image source: Aker BP

The PSA said on Thursday that Aker BP explained its plans to use a walk-to-work (W2W) vessel with a motion-compensated gangway for accommodating personnel during work on the unmanned Tambar platform.

According to the PSA, the use of the vessel as described by Aker BP falls outside the current regulatory framework.

The plans for the activity will include accommodation rather than transport. Mobile units used for accommodation in the petroleum sector are to be regarded as facilities within the meaning of the Petroleum Act.

According to the PSA, the operator must obtain consent from the regulator at important milestones to ensure that good status points are established in their operations, and that the regulator has control over key decisions made by the operator.

Therefore, the PSA ordered Aker BP to obtain consent before using a vessel for accommodating personnel who are to execute work on the Tambar platform.

The application for consent must contain the description of the vessel’s design and systems for stability and positioning, a vessel category A and minimum DP class 2.

Also, it must contain a description of how gangways and cranes between the facility and vessel are designed to ensure that material handling and personnel traffic can take place, results of an analysis of working environment conditions for personnel executing work on Tambar including when they are on the vessel, and a statement from the elected union officers for the workers.

The PSA said that the application for consent must be submitted no later than three weeks before the planned start of the activity. Consent must be obtained before the activity begins.

Possible comments on this notice must be received by the PSA no later than June 29.

To clarify, an order is an administrative decision and a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient, in this case, Aker BP. Before the PSA issues an order, it usually sends a notice of order to the affected companies which is neither an instrument nor a notice of sanctions.


Tambar field

Discovered in 1983, the Aker BP-operated Tambar is an oil field about 16 kilometers south-east of the Ula field in the southern part of the Norwegian sector of the North Sea. The water depth in the area is 68 meters. The reservoir lies at a depth of 4,100-4,200 meters.

The field has been developed with a remotely controlled wellhead facility without processing equipment and started production in 2001. The oil is transported to Ula through a pipeline. After processing at Ula, the oil is exported in the existing pipeline system via Ekofisk to Teesside in the UK, while the gas is injected into the Ula reservoir to improve oil recovery.

In 2017, a re-development project was initiated to extend the lifetime of Tambar with two new wells and gas lift, and an application for a license extension to 2028 was submitted.