Goliat production stopped until electrical faults get fixed

Following an audit of electrical safety, the Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has issued a notice of order to Eni Norge to fix faults and deficiencies on the Goliat FPSO before resuming production. 

The Eni-operated Goliat field is located in PL 229 in the Barents Sea, 80 km north-west of Hammerfest, Northern Norway. Production from the field started on March 12, 2016. Eni has a 65 pct interest in the field, with Statoil as its partner with a 35 pct interest.

The PSA said on Friday that it conducted an audit of electrical safety and the person in charge of the electrical facilities on board the Goliat FPSO from September 19 to 28.

This audit was followed up by a meeting between Eni and the PSA on October 4, 2017.

A high fault rate with the Ex integrity of the equipment was established through random sampling of reports from Ex inspections of electric motors incorporating an emergency stop arrangement. This also included equipment in hazardous areas.

The safety body added that Eni had reviewed all the inspection reports relating to the relevant equipment in the wake of the audit.

Eni submitted that the total fault rate for the relevant equipment after the inspection-related repair was 38 percent, with 3.5 percent of these being serious faults in Eni’s own assessment. The safety watchdog regards these fault rates as high.

Also, Eni reported at the meeting that it investigated about 50 percent of the Ex motors at that point. The condition of the Ex motors which had not been inspected is therefore unclear.

This, in turn, represents a non-conformity regarding the facilities regulations on ignition source control.


Notice of order

Considering this nonconformity as a serious one, the PSA ordered Eni to complete the systematic survey of potential ignition sources related to electric Ex motors. The company must also implement the necessary technical, operational, and organizational measures to reduce the threat of ignition from all faults which represent an ignition source.

All of these activities must be implemented before production is resumed from the Goliat FPSO and the PSA must be informed when this order has been complied with.

To clarify, an order is an administrative decision and a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient, in this case, Eni. 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.


Goliat shutdowns

Since it began production in March 2016, the field has been shut down several times due to various reasons. For example, in early February production was restarted after a month-long shutdown due to repairs of a damaged offloading hose, only to be shut down several days later to avoid any unplanned flaring of gas and undertake maintenance on a valve in the gas compression system.