Ekofisk complex; Courtesy of ConocoPhillips

New task for ConocoPhillips to tackle nonconformities at North Sea platform

After conducting an audit of ConocoPhillips’ planning and execution of coiled tubing drilling at a platform in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, Norway’s offshore safety regulator is awaiting a response from the energy giant regarding the way the identified nonconformities will be handled.

Ekofisk complex; Courtesy of ConocoPhillips

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) recently disclosed that it had conducted the audit between 13 December 2022 and 13 January 2023 with the objective of verifying that ConocoPhillips, together with the drilling contractor and other contractors concerned, were planning and executing coiled tubing drilling on Ekofisk K in accordance with their own requirements, regulatory provisions and relevant standards.

During this investigation, the regulator identified breaches of the regulations, which entail three nonconformities, concerning stop criteria for hydrocarbons in return stream, monitoring of well parameters, and specification of availability of kill fluid.

In addition, the offshore safety watchdog found two improvement points, including the processing and use of data and an unequivocal definition of responsibility. As a result, the PSA has asked ConocoPhillips to report by 1 May 2023 how these nonconformities will be addressed and provide an assessment of the improvement points observed.

Ekofisk K – also known as Ekofisk Kilo – is a combined drilling, water injection and accommodation platform, which was installed in 1986 and became operational the following year. Standing three kilometres north of the Ekofisk Complex, 2/4 K is connected to the adjacent Ekofisk 2/4 B platform by a bridge. 

Located 300 kilometres southwest of Stavanger in the southern part of the North Sea, the Greater Ekofisk Area consists of three producing fields: Ekofisk, Eldfisk and Embla. The production from these fields is transported via the Ekofisk Complex to the receiving terminals in Emden, Germany (gas) and Teesside, UK (oil).

The Ekofisk Complex comprises all installations which are connected with bridges on the central Ekofisk field and it serves as a hub for the production from the Ekofisk field itself, and from the other fields in the Greater Ekofisk Area. The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy extended the production licenses in the Greater Ekofisk Area from 2028 to 2048 last year.

According to ConocoPhillips, Ekofisk was Norway’s first producing field and is also one of the largest on the Norwegian continental shelf. It was discovered in 1969, and the initial plan for development and operation (PDO) was approved in 1972. Based on the company’s records, test production was initiated in 1971 and ordinary production started in 1972.