OKEA ordered to act on Draugen well integrity offshore mid-Norway

Nov. 10, 2020
This follows an order from Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority, based on a two-day audit in September, which identified serious breaches of regulations.

Offshore staff

OSLO, NorwayOKEA must take action on well integrity at the Draugen oil field in the Norwegian Sea.

This follows an order from Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), based on a two-day audit in September, which identified serious breaches of regulations.

Norske Shell developed and operated Draugen via a concrete gravity base platform supporting an integrated topsides, with platform and subsea wells.

Production started in 1993, with OKEA acquiring operatorship in December 2018. The field’s originally estimated producing life was 30 years, but OKEA has consent to keep operations going until 2024, and is looking for tieback opportunities to allow for a further extension.

Oil is produced on Draugen from two formations, at a subsurface depth of around 1,600 m (5,249 ft), with pressure support provided through water injection and gas lift in certain wells.

According to the PSA, Draugen at present has various wells with deficient or weakened barriers, with no plans submitted for repairing or restoring them. In several cases the weaknesses are long-standing, with OKEA not conducting an internal verification of well integrity status since becoming operator.

During the handover from Shell, certain OKEA individuals conducted an internal assessment of the wells, but they did not participate in the audit. And neither the company nor others in the license have subsequently considered an internal or independent review and verification of well integrity status, the PSA claimed.

When the authority audited OKEA’s maintenance management on the field in 2019, it found that the company had issues to address in terms of establishing and updating its own management system with associated processes and procedures.

The latest audit revealed that verification and documentation of integrity status was lacking for numerous production and injection wells, due partly to insufficient separation between roles in production optimization and technical responsibility for well integrity.

According to OKEA, the notification order relates to three non-conformities which require the following actions:

  • Review, quality assure and update the well integrity status for the 22 wells on the Draugen field
  • Initiate measures to ensure that well barriers and barrier elements that has failed or is reduced are known and that activities are initiated to correct or compensate for failed or reduced well barriers.

In addition, the PSA has identified four improvement points, including setting performance requirements for well integrity.

There were also four recommendations for improvement in PSA’s notice.

The company must submit its plan by Dec. 1, and comply with the notification order by March 1, 2021.