Statfjord C platform; Credit: Harald Pettersen/Equinor

New task for Equinor to handle nonconformities at North Sea platform

After conducting an audit of Equinor and its management of working environment risk on a platform in the Norwegian sector of the North Sea, Norway’s offshore safety regulator is awaiting a response from the state-owned energy giant regarding the way the identified nonconformities will be sorted out.

Statfjord C platform; Credit: Harald Pettersen/Equinor

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted the audit in October and November 2022 with the objective of verifying that Equinor’s management of working environment risk at the Statfjord C platform prevents employees and temporary agency workers from being exposed to health hazards and the risk of sickness absence.

This audit came after previous audits of Equinor’s offshore and onshore facilities made repeated observations concerning weaknesses in Equinor’s systemic working environment management and in the practice of risk management at the facilities.

Against this background, the offshore safety watchdog initiated an audit of Equinor’s systems and practices for managing workplace risk at an overarching level in a bid to assess whether Equinor’s follow-up and improvement processes implemented in relation to the management of working environment risk are sufficient for achieving regulatory compliance.

During this investigation, the regulator identified several breaches of the regulations, which entail nine nonconformities, including a mismatch between tasks and resources, breach of the working hours’ provisions, organisation of work and risk assessment, analysis of psychosocial risks, measures, arrangements for employee participation, risk of musculoskeletal disorders, compliance with own requirements, and training and information.

In addition, the PSA observed three factors categorised as improvement points, which cover follow-up of the working hours’ provisions, noise-related health risks, and health risks from the chemical working environment.

Following the completion of the safety watchdog’s investigation, Equinor has been asked to report how these nonconformities will be addressed by 15 May 2023 and provide an assessment of the improvement points observed.

The Statfjord field is located in the Tampen area in the northern part of the North Sea on the border between the Norwegian and British sectors. The Norwegian share of the field is 85.47 per cent and the water depth at the site is 150 metres. Discovered in 1974, the Statfjord field has been developed with three production platforms: Statfjord AStatfjord B, and Statfjord C. This last platform came into production in 1985.

According to Equinor, Statfjord Nord, Statfjord Øst and Sygna are three satellite fields tied back to the Statfjord C platform while the Statfjord Øst field is equally split between production licences 037 in block 33/9 – Statfjord area – and 089 in block 34/7 (Snorre area).