Norway strengthening follow-up of serious oil & gas incidents to prevent reoccurrence

Norway strengthening follow-up of serious oil & gas incidents to prevent reoccurrence

Norwegian offshore safety regulator is setting the wheels into motion to reinforce and develop improved measures for the follow-up of serious petroleum-sector incidents, in a bid to bolster the prevention of such incidents in the future.

For illustration purposes; Credit: Ellen Maria Skjelsbæk/Equinor

Earlier this week, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) outlined that following up on serious incidents was an important part of its social remit, thus, the regulator decided to make a broad commitment to strengthening its follow-up of serious incidents.

The offshore safety watchdog highlights that efforts will be devoted in the next few years to the continued development of expertise, tools, methods and processes for learning lessons and follow-up on serious incidents and investigations in the petroleum sector.

The PSA expects this to contribute to improved prevention of incidents in the industry, including a more effective and quality-assured process for reception and follow-up of incidents; increased expertise in the PSA’s investigation teams to ensure better understanding of such factors as human and organisational conditions when following up incidents; and improved quality and better access to data in relation to investigations.

In addition, the Norwegian regulator expects this commitment to result in a risk picture more appropriate to the times at the industry level, improved digital solutions for reporting incident data to the PSA, and further development of the trends in risk level in the petroleum activity (RNNP) tool; along with improved sharing of incident information through increased analysis capacity and better sharing of learning materials.

Enhancing investigations

Furthermore, the PSA underlines that follow-up of incidents – both individually and collectively – is an important part of its supervision while investigating “undesirable” incidents plays a key part in its risk-based supervisory activities. In line with this, a key area in this commitment involves the further development of the PSA’s investigations.

To this end, DNV has been commissioned to study the subject along three main paths. The first of these requires mapping and establishing overviews of accident perspectives, investigation methods and tools, and proposed methods for piloting.

The second one is to pilot and establish parameters of methodology development, pilot, and parameters while the third one is related to work process and knowledge sharing, covering the PSA’s work process, internal expertise development, and knowledge-sharing with the industry.

According to Norway’s regulator, the work, which will extend from 2022 to 2025, will embrace and involve “a number of players from the industry” while components will include a special advisory group in the Safety Forum to ensure “entrenchment in the tripartite collaboration between companies, unions and government.”

Additionally, a dedicated group of experts is expected to be created for operative support to the project through specialist expertise and input for the three main paths in the form of workshops and interviews.

“This project will play an important part in the continued development of the PSA’s work on following up incidents and investigations, but will also involve and contribute to improvement effects on this subject in the industry,” underscored the regulator in its statement.

The Norwegian offshore safety watchdog looked into several oil and gas incidents over the past year. In September 2022, the Norwegian government also decided to heighten emergency preparedness in relation to onshore and offshore installations, following reports about increased drone activity close to offshore installations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS).

When it comes to most recent incidents, it is worth noting that the Petroleum Safety Authority informed in November 2022 that an investigation was launched into an incident involving a “serious personal injury” on a jack-up rig.

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The rig was working in the North Sea at one of the fields on the Norwegian continental shelf at the time of the incident.