OSLO, Norway – The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has introduced temporary measures to help facilities offshore Norway cope with rising pressures associated with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
It has reintroduced the scheme under which companies can extend periods of offshore duty for personnel by up to 28 days.
The PSA expects a large number of applications for this extension, which can be granted in the following conditions:
1. There is a shortage of qualified personnel needed to maintain production or work associated with activities directly related to drilling and well operations, including support functions, due to the coronavirus outbreak.
2. A risk assessment is mandatory to establish that extending the working hours scheme does not expose the individual employee to undue physical or mental loads, and takes into account safety considerations. The assessment should consider avoiding overtime and night work.
In other news, the PSA has authorized OMV Norge to use the semisubmersible Deepsea Yantai for drilling a pilot hole in license PL644 in the Norwegian Sea, related to the potential Iris Hades development. Water depth at the location is 365 m (1,197 ft).
Equinor has the PSA’s permission to dispose of the facilities on the Veslefrikk field in the northern Norwegian North Sea, in 185 m (607 ft) of water.
The field was developed in the late 1980s: Veslefrikk A is a fixed steel wellhead platform bridge-linked to the Veslefrikk B semisubmersible (processing and accommodation).
Equinor submitted its decommissioning plan in 2020 and P&A of the wells is under way.