Safety issues found during audit of Ærfugl production pipes

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has found irregularities during an audit of the design and fabrication of EHTF production pipes for Aker BP’s Ærfugl field.

Ærfugl project illustration. Source: Aker BP

The PSA said on Thursday that the audit, conducted between December 2-4, 2019, looked at the EHTF production pipes for Ærfugl.

According to the offshore regulator, it is planned to construct production pipes for the Ærfugl project using new technology in the form of pipe-in-pipe with electrical heating (EHTF).

The PSA added that it was important for the chosen solutions to be of high-quality and for the design, qualification, and fabrication of the flowlines to be followed up from manufacture to finished installation.

The objective of the audit was to verify that Aker BP is following up on the fabrication of the EHTF production pipes for Ærfugl comprehensively and that its own follow-up was ensuring good quality.

Part of the remit is to audit how Aker BP is fulfilling its supervisory duty in respect of the supplier Subsea 7. Aker BP awarded the deal to Subsea 7 back in mid-December 2019.

It was an EPCI contract for a long-distance tie-back involving EHTF technology for a distance of 13.5 kilometers from the subsea location to the existing Skarv infrastructure. This work is part of the Ærfugl Phase 2 gas field development.

The PSA also stated that two non-conformities were identified during the audit relating to the follow-up of other participants and general analysis requirements.

The offshore watchdog also found two improvement points in connection with the use of recognized standards, and compliance with requirements.

As for the field itself, Ærfugl is a gas condensate field about 210 kilometers offshore Sandnessjøen in Norway. It is a subsea project, which is being developed in two phases. Both phases are tied into the existing FPSO vessel on the Skarv field, which is located some 210 kilometers west of Sandnessjøen.

Phase 2 of the project was sanctioned in November 2019, three years ahead of the original plan. The goal is to start production from the Phase 2 well in the first half of 2020. This means that the production start-up for phase 2 will come before the start-up of Ærfugl phase 1.

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