Photo: Deepsea Atlantic rig; Source: Odfjell Drilling

Odfjell asked to address nonconformities on semi-submersible rig

Norwegian offshore safety regulator has carried out an audit of Odfjell Drilling and its risk management, electrical facilities, safety instrumented systems and technical safety on one of its semi-submersible rigs, currently working for Equinor off Norway, and is awaiting a response from the offshore drilling contractor regarding the way the identified nonconformities will be handled.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) informed last week that it had conducted this audit between 26 to 30 September 2022 with the objective of investigating how Odfjell Drilling complies with regulatory requirements for risk management, electrical facilities, work in and operation of electrical facilities, safety instrumented systems and technical safety on board the Deepsea Atlantic semi-submersible rig.

In addition, the PSA’s audit monitored installed lithium-ion battery systems and flywheels on this rig along with the company’s handling of the risk that such installations entail. While conducting its investigation, the PSA identified several breaches of the regulations. 

Furthermore, the offshore safety watchdog identified 14 nonconformities, including barrier management; handling of nonconformities; ignition source control; ventilation system; firefighting; passive fire protection; open drainage; emergency lighting; lithium-ion battery system; electrical facilities and installations; work in and operation of electrical facilities; responsible person for communication systems; risk assessment of health hazards from electromagnetic fields; and maintenance of technical facilities.

Moreover, the regulator also found two improvement points regarding risk reduction and risk analysis. As the PSA’s investigation has now been completed, the regulator has asked Odfjell Drilling to report how these nonconformities will be addressed by 31 January 2023.

The 2009-built Deepsea Atlantic is a sixth-generation deepwater and harsh environment semi-submersible, dual derrick, dynamic-positioned rig of enhanced GVA 7500 design.

At the end of last month, Equinor exercised its option to drill additional wells with this rig on the Johan Sverdrup Phase 2 development under the contract entered into on 23 November 2020, extending the rig’s stay offshore Norway until the first quarter of 2024.

Prior to this, Equinor awarded extensions to two Norwegian contractors – Aker Solutions and Aibel – which will enable the two to carry out maintenance and modification (M&M) work on the Johan Sverdrup field until February 2026.

Located on Utsira High in the central part of the North Sea, in a water depth of 110-120 metres, Johan Sverdrup is the third-largest oil field on the Norwegian continental shelf, with estimated resources of 2.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. This field – which was discovered in 2010 – has an estimated 50-year lifespan.