Oseberg C; Credit: Øyvind Hagen/Equinor

Equinor to tackle helideck nonconformities at two North Sea platforms

Norwegian offshore safety regulator has conducted an audit of the management of emergency preparedness and helidecks at two Equinor-operated platforms in the North Sea off Norway.

Oseberg C; Credit: Øyvind Hagen/Equinor

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) disclosed on Tuesday, 7 February 2023, that it had conducted the audit of the management of emergency preparedness and the helideck at Oseberg A and the management of the helideck at Oseberg C between 28 November and 2 December 2022, with the assistance of the Civil Aviation Authority Norway.

The offshore safety watchdog underlined that the objective of the audit was to verify processes and systems that contribute to ensuring the comprehensive management of emergency preparedness and to verify that the helidecks comply with regulatory requirements in order to help ensure safe helicopter operations and personnel transport.

During this investigation, the regulator identified one nonconformity within emergency preparedness, concerning the system for an overview of personnel. In addition, the PSA identified two improvement points during the audit related to the system for training and drilling deputies and registration of training. Regarding the helidecks, the regulator explained that eight nonconformities were detected on Oseberg A and 13 nonconformities on Oseberg C.

The safety watchdog has asked Equinor to report how these nonconformities will be addressed by 12 February 2023 and provide an assessment of the improvement points observed. Therefore, the regulator is awaiting a response from the state-owned energy giant regarding the way the identified nonconformities will be sorted out.

According to Equinor, Oseberg is the third-largest oil producer ever on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) and when it came on stream, it was expected to produce around one billion barrels of oil. The Oseberg Field Centre – located in Block 30/6 and 30/9, about 130 kilometres northwest of Bergen – includes three platforms, Oseberg A, B and D, connected to one another with bridges, in the southern part of the Oseberg field, and the Oseberg C platform, which lies 13 kilometres north of the field centre.

While Oseberg A is a concrete platform with process equipment and living quarters, Oseberg C is an integrated accommodation, processing and drilling platform that sits atop a steel jacket and oil is produced from 18 wells.

Equinor says that oil and gas from certain wells are routed in a multi-phase pipeline to the Oseberg Field Centre for processing. For the remaining wells, gas is injected into the Oseberg main field and is produced via the Oseberg Field Centre. The oil runs through a three-stage separation process with pressure support in the reservoir from three compressors. Stabilised crude is sent to the Sture terminal via the field centre.