Statfjord A spill lessons learnt

StatoilHydro says lessons have been learnt after an investigation was carried out into an incident on the Statfjord A platform when an internal leak in the platform hull led to gas accumulation inside the shaft and discharge of oily water to sea.

The investigation report into the incident on 24 May, was submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway today.

“The incident on Statfjord A at the end of May had the potential of causing serious harm to personnel and the platform,” says Tore Torvund, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.

“The investigation reveals the need to continue the effort of enhancing the quality and precision of planning and execution as well as compliance with regulations and management systems. The effort of simplifying our governing documentation and the restructuring of our offshore activities are important measures in this work.”

During modification work involving the use of a tool on an oil-bearing pipe (so-called hot tapping) inside one of the platform shafts of the Statfjord A platform, an oil leak occurred in the tool.

During efforts to stop the leak, 50-70 cubic metres of oil was pumped to sea, of which 20 cubic metres were gathered by mobilised standby vessels.

No-one was injured during the incident but it has been concluded that the incident had the potential of causing an explosion and damage to the shaft.

StatoilHydro said in a statement: “Immediate technical actions have already been taken to ensure experience transfer to other hot tapping operations and work on hydrocarbon-bearing systems in platform shafts.

“StatoilHydro has already started a process to establish common work procedures on all of the group’s offshore facilities and has started intensified training of each individual leader of operational activities in relevant work processes.”