Photo: NPD headquarters; Image: NPD

Norwegian regulators introduce safety measures amid coronavirus fears

Norwegian oil regulator and offshore safety authority have introduced measures for restricting the spread of the coronavirus on oil and gas facilities in the country.

NPD headquarters; Image: NPD

Norwegian offshore safety regulator, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), said on Thursday that it was prioritizing the maintenance of its supervisory activities as far as possible given the spread of the coronavirus.

“Responsibility for conducting activities on the NCS and at the land-based plants prudently and in line with the regulatory requirements rests with the companies.

“The position created by the spread of the virus does not change this – on the contrary, it will underline that allocation of responsibility. Emergency preparations and plans to deal with various incidents or conditions that could affect safety must always be in place,” the PSA stated on Thursday.

In line with its regulatory responsibility, the PSA will continue to monitor how the companies are meeting requirements for safety, the working environment and emergency preparedness in the present circumstances.

The PSA’s audit program will continue but will be tailored to changing conditions. This means that these processes will devote particular attention to safety-critical parts of the industry – including company preparedness for dealing with undesirable incidents.

At the same time, the PSA is canceling all physical meetings with external personnel until further notice. Alternative solutions for conducting audits will be clarified with the individual company.

In the event of serious incidents that require investigation or urgent follow-up on offshore facilities or on land, the PSA will make special assessments of possible travel to the facility or plant concerned. In all other cases, the PSA will comply with guidelines from the Norwegian Oil and Gas Association and the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Responsibility for the health of workers, according to the PSA, rests with the Norwegian Board of Health which supervises how the companies deal with health and hygiene on offshore facilities and at the land plants.

As for the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD), it on Wednesday announced it had introduced restrictions with regard to the presence in its offices for persons who have been in areas with a prolonged spread of coronavirus.

If an individual has been in these areas during the last 14 days, they are not allowed to participate in meetings in the NPD. Which areas this applies to is being updated on a continuous basis by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

It is worth noting that Equinor decided to suspend helicopter flights to several offshore installations earlier this week due to a suspected coronavirus case, but the test results were not in at the time.

Since then, Equinor confirmed on Wednesday that one person at Equinor’s Martin Linge field in the North Sea had tested positive on the coronavirus.

The infected person has been in isolation in his cabin since Monday, March 9. Measures to prevent further contamination for offshore installations have been introduced and it has not been decided when the person will be brought ashore.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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