Watchdog grills Statoil over risky accommodation camp use
The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued Statoil Petroleum AS (Statoil) with an order in connection with the use of an accommodation camp at Melkøya during planned shutdowns at Hammerfest LNG.
On 20 February 2013, Statoil received consent to use the accommodation camp in connection with planned shutdowns at Hammerfest LNG at Melkøya, once the facility had been shut down and depressurised. The consent applies up to 31 December 2017.
On 9 December 2013, Statoil applied for consent to also use the accommodation camp during the decommissioning and recommissioning period in connection with the planned shutdown in May/June 2014, i.e. during periods when the facility was not depressurised. The application was rejected by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway in a decision of 6 February 2014. This decision was not appealed.
Workers at risk
“Our decision of 6 February 2014 was founded on the fact that persons staying and sleeping in the accommodation camp would be exposed to higher risk during periods when the facility had not been fully depressurised and shut down. Experience also shows that the risk of leaks and injury at the facility is higher during shutdown and startup than during stable operations. Despite our decision, Statoil chose to use the accommodation camp during decommissioning and recommissioning for the shutdown,” the PSA said.
On this basis, on 23 June 2014, the PSA issued Statoil with a notification of order. A notification of order is neither an instrument nor a notice of sanctions, but a step in the PSA’s case processing in which the PSA request the party to assess the factual basis. The notification is only the first step before an administrative decision is made.
In conformity with the notification, the PSA has issued Statoil with the following order:
“Pursuant to the Framework Regulations, section 69 concerning administrative decisions, the Framework Regulations, section 7 concerning responsibilities pursuant to these regulations, and the Management Regulations, section 21 concerning follow-up, Statoil is ordered to identify direct and underlying causes for why decisions were taken in this matter contrary to the authority’s decision, identify necessary measures in the company and implement them.
The deadline for complying with the order is set at 1 September 2014. We are to be notified when the order has been carried out.”
An order is a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient.