Statoil (NYSE:STO) has planned 990 modification projects on the Norwegian continental shelf in 2011, with a price tag totalling US $1.5 billion (NOK 9 billion). The modifications will improve health, safety and the environment (HSE) – as well as earnings from the installations.
Appropriations for modification work have been consistently high for a number of years as modifications constitute an important part of Statoil’s investments on the NCS.
"Our new work process for modifications helps enhance quality in the early phase,” says Hans Jakob Hegge, senior vice president in Development and production Norway (DPN).
Nearly 500 modification projects were completed on the NCS in 2010. Around 300 of these were purely HSE projects that contribute to improved safety, reduced emissions or improvements in the working environment on the installations.
The remaining 200 projects were based on financial assessments and provide increased production, improved regularity, reduced costs and, in many cases, important HSE improvements as well.
"Sound finances and good HSE often go hand in hand," says Hegge.
At any given time, Statoil's operations organisation has around 1,000 modification projects under way.
“One important challenge is to find solutions and methods that allow the projects to be completed without shutting down production. This way, we can reduce the scope of planned shutdowns," says Hegge.
Modifications are carried out in close collaboration with the suppliers, who are key resources both in planning and executing the projects.
Suppliers regularly meet with both Statoil’s project managers and senior management, which helps ensure that learning from incidents is incorporated into the modification process.
Safer working day
The modification projects cover a wide range of areas. A good example of this from 2010 is the Kristin platform in the Norwegian Sea, where ventilation of produced water took place in close proximity with decks and walking areas.
Such ventilation contains small amounts of the carcinogenic substance benzene. Inhalation of even small concentrations can result in nerve damage.
The solution was to extend the outlet pipe 20 metres up the flare boom, so that the deck area could be opened for regular work. Thus, the personnel on board can feel safer knowing they are not exposed to chemicals.