PSA serves notice to Statoil following North Sea leak inquiry

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway – Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has ordered Statoil to take various actions at its Gudrun complex in the North Sea.

This follows the completion of investigations into a hydrocarbon leak last February. PSA says it has identified serious breaches of regulations.

The cause was a rupture in a 2-in. pipe in the bypass line downstream of the first-stage separator. Statoil estimated the initial leak at 8 kg/s. Condensate from the first-stage separator also leaked to the open air.

PSA estimates the total emission/discharge at 2,800 kg (4 cu m) of condensate, more than 1 cu m of which is thought to have been discharged to the sea.

This constitutes one of the larger hydrocarbon escapes recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf over the past decade, PSA said.

Although no injuries resulted, a major accident could have ensued, PSA claimed, leading to loss of life, substantial damage to material assents, and consequences for the marine environment.

Nonconformities uncovered during the investigation were as follows:

  • Weaknesses in Statoil’s fulfilment of its responsibilities
  • Insufficient robustness in the design
  • Deficiencies in information management and competence
  • Inadequate information at shift and personnel changes
  • Weaknesses in experience transfer and learning
  • Execution of work on electrical installations.

PSA has ordered Statoil to make sure that in the future management at Gudrun implements measures to identify risk-assess and deal with signals from the process plant during operation.

In addition, necessary information from specialist teams must be conveyed in a systematic and appropriate manner to the operations department. Deadline for compliance with the order is June 1, 2016.


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