Safety body takes closer look at drilling operations on Gullfaks

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has found irregularities during an audit of KCAD’s and Equinor’s drilling operations on the Gullfaks field offshore Norway.

Askeladden rig; Source: Equinor

The PSA said on Thursday that the audit of KCA Deutag Drilling’s (KCAD) and Equinor’s logistics and drilling operations using the Askeladden rig on the field was conducted from September 3 – 9.

Askeladden and KCAD’s other CAT-J rig, Askepott, began work on Gullfaks, located in the Tampen area in the northern part of the North Sea, in April 2018.

The audit was a follow-up of the Acknowledgement of Compliance (AOC) decision and the consent to use the Askeladden rig in October 2017.

This involved verifying that the operations using the rig have robust and competent preparedness for handling well control incidents.

The PSA added that the objective was to audit how Equinor assumed its supervisory duty with regard to KCAD’s management of operations, including materials handling.

This included verifying that the planning and execution of lifting operations met the requirements, as well as following up the maintenance of lifting equipment so that it contributed to reducing the risk of accidents and injury.

The safety body stated that the audit aimed to verify that Equinor, in collaboration with KCAD and well service companies on board the rig, complied with the regulatory requirements for planning, risk assessment and execution of drilling, completion, and well operations.

The safety watchdog found three non-conformities regarding outstanding rectification of previous observations on Askeladden and Askepott, inadequate knowledge of procedures, and technical conditions in the mud processing facility and venting of oil mist.

The PSA also identified seven improvement points relating to employee participation, clarification of roles and follow-up of competence, transfer of information, management system for the safe use of lifting equipment, roles and responsibilities for lifting operations, design and organization of safe lifting operations, and work arrangements.

KCAD and Equinor were told to report on how the non-conformities and improvement points would be addressed by January 1, 2019.