Offshore watchdog slaps Equinor with safety order

The Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has given a safety order to Norwegian oil major Equinor following an audit of material handling and management of the working environment on Martin Linge A platform offshore Norway. 

The PSA said on Friday that the audit revealed that non-conformities identified earlier by the safety body were not corrected.

The audit, conducted from January 21-24, covered Equinor and its material handling and working environment management during commissioning of the A platform on the Martin Linge field.

During the safety probe, the PSA found that the lifting equipment operator, responsible for carrying out daily and monthly maintenance, lacked the necessary training to inspect and maintain steel wire rope. A system for inspecting and maintaining such rope on the cranes was also not found.

Equinor’s fulfillment of the requirements regarding critical lifting operations, crane restrictions, and conditions related to the use of the cranes in offshore hook-up work were also deficient.


Not corrected since June 2018

To remind, the same conditions were identified by PSA’s audit of Equinor on June 4-5, 2018.

Namely, on June 22, 2018, the PSA gave Equinor its consent to take parts of Martin Linge A into use, but on condition that the identified non-conformities were corrected.

Before consent was given, Equinor provided the PSA with written confirmation that the non-conformities identified by the authority would be dealt with before the platform was put into use.

Despite this, the most recent audit revealed that Equinor did not correct the non-conformities and has breached the conditions of the consent.

On that basis, PSA ordered Equinor to review its systems for follow up and use of lifting equipment on facilities, including local procedures and necessary competence for personnel using such equipment.

The oil company must also implement the necessary measures identified by the review to correct non-conformities.

Equinor must comply with the order by March 8, 2019. The PSA must be informed when the order has been carried out.

To clarify, an order is an administrative decision and a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient, in this case, Equinor.


Martin Linge

Martin Linge is an oil and gas field west of the Oseberg field in the North Sea. The field development concept includes an integrated wellhead, production and accommodation platform with a jacket, in addition to an oil storage vessel.

The oil storage vessel, named Martin Linge B, is an FSO unit renamed following the conversion of the MT Hanne Knutsen vessel. Equinor is leasing Martin Linge B from Knutsen NYK Offshore Tankers AS (KNOT), which is also operating the facility. The PSA took a look at Martin Linge B in July 2018 and noted non-conformities in the areas of procedures for cranes and lifting operations, completion of cranes, and training.

When the field comes on stream, the gas will flow through a new pipeline connecting the field to the existing pipeline to St. Fergus in Scotland. The oil will be processed on the storage vessel and transported from the field in shuttle tankers. The current operator expects the start of production in the first half of 2019.