Equinor failed to correct Martin linge irregularities, regulator said

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has spotted previously noted irregularities during an audit of Equinor’s Martin Linge A platform off Norway. 

Martin Linge platform; Source: Equinor

The PSA said on Monday that it audited Equinor’s materials handling, work at height, and management of the working environment on Martin Linge A.

The audit was part of the PSA’s follow-up of the Martin Linge development project and took place between January 11 – 24, 2019.

Audit objective

The safety body’s objective of the audit was split three ways. Namely, the materials handling part focused on the verification systems for preventing accidents and injuries relating to materials handling, cranes, and lifting in the commissioning phase and preparations for operation comply with the regulatory requirements.

For work at height, PSA followed up the management of risk and verified activities in the commissioning phase within scaffolding and access techniques.

The objective for the working environment was the verification of management of risk to health in the working environment in the commissioning phase complied with requirements. The safety watchdog also wanted to assess whether Equinor’s management of risk to health was adequate in order for the facility under operation to meet regulations regarding working environment requirements.

Non-conformities still not rectified

The PSA added that the audit revealed that Equinor failed to correct non-conformities previously pointed out by the safety body. Based on that, the safety watchdog already issued with an order to the company in late February. The order spotted that the non-conformities noticed in June 2018 were still not corrected.

The audit identified nine non-conformities and one improvement point. The non-conformities are related to a failure to secure adequate competence, procedures for crane and lifting operations, materials handling, defective access arrangements, defective use of lifting gear, deficient use of enterprise of competence, scaffolding, deficient notification and reporting of incidents, and management of risk of musculoskeletal disorders.

The only improvement point found during the audit was related to the chemical working environment.

The PSA told Equinor to report on how the non-conformities would be addressed by April 5, with a description of the company’s plans and associated deadlines. The safety body also told the company to provide an assessment of the observed improvement point.

Martin Linge

Martin Linge is an oil and gas field west of the Oseberg field in the North Sea. The field development concept includes an integrated wellhead, production and accommodation platform with a jacket, in addition to an oil storage vessel.

The oil storage vessel, named Martin Linge B, is an FSO unit renamed following the conversion of the MT Hanne Knutsen vessel. Equinor is leasing Martin Linge B from Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers AS (KNOT), which is also operating the facility.

When the field comes on stream, the gas will flow through a new pipeline connecting the field to the existing pipeline to St. Fergus in Scotland. The oil will be processed on the storage vessel and transported from the field in shuttle tankers. The current operator expects the start of production in the first half of 2019.