Audit reveals safety issues at North Sea Ula complex
The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has notified Aker BP of serious breaches of regulations following an audit of the company’s risk, barrier and maintenance management at the Ula field in the southern Norwegian North Sea.
OSLO, Norway – The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has notified Aker BP of serious breaches of regulations following an audit of the company’s risk, barrier and maintenance management at the Ula field in the southern Norwegian North Sea.
The audit was conducted over an 11-day period from late September through early October. Attention offshore was directed primarily at the Ula P production facility which according to the PSA has integrity issues because its structure and process equipment cannot withstand the loads that could arise should a liquid fire break out.
Due to deficient and inadequate passive fire protection, a requirement has been in place since 2008 for the facility to be evacuated as quickly as possible, but Aker BP has stated that it cannot document the consequences of a liquid fire after the set limit of five minutes.
The PSA’s view is that evacuation within this time limit is not sufficient given uncertainties over the consequences of a fire.
Its audit team identified various instances where knowledge was lacking about barriers, barrier management and conditions that could present a major accident risk and has recommended a barrier strategy and updated performance standards for Ula.
The PSA also believes Aker BP management is not prioritizing resources and activities to ensure that maintenance plans are implemented. Its earlier audits on the company’s Ivar Aasen complex in the North Sea revealed irregularities related to Rigsaver shutoff valves, and similar issues came to light on Ula.
Nonconformities were identified in management of major accident risk; barrier management; organization, coordination of roles and responsibilities; the system for dealing with nonconformities; passive fire protection; identification and maintenance of barriers; maintenance; the gas detection system; and equipment not in use.
Two improvement points were also identified concerning safety signs and tagging of equipment and the battery bank located close to a flange.
The PSA has now ordered Aker BP to take appropriate action by March 1, 2019.