The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued a notification of order concerning non-conformity with requirements in the regulations for the pressure relief system on Tor 2/4 E. Operator ConocoPhillips has been aware of this non-conformity for some time. The notification is based on an individual and overall assessment of acceptable operation on Tor 2/4 E.
A pressure relief system is important for safety, and the PSA has decided it necessary to order the operator to stop using all systems which require a functioning pressure relief system on Tor 2/4 E until a solution which satisfies the regulations is in place.
The system on Tor 2/4 E requires manual operation in the field in order to achieve full pressure relief, which is not considered acceptable. Because of the non-conformance, full pressure relief cannot be achieved in certain emergencies.
On stream since 1978, the Tor oil field has been developed with a combined wellhead and processing installation tied back to Ekofisk.
Exemption from technical requirements in the regulations, including the pressure relief system, was sought in 2008 when ConocoPhillips applied for consent to extend the producing life of Tor 2/4 E.
The PSA issued a temporary exemption to the end of 2010, but the operator had not corrected the non-conformity by that date. ConocoPhillips subsequently submitted two exemption applications, which were turned down by the PSA in 2011 and 2012 respectively.
On that basis, the PSA gives notification of the following order:
Pursuant to section 10-1, paragraph 3 of the Petroleum Activities Act, see section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions, section 82, item 2 of the facilities regulations on entry into force, and section 21 on the gas release system in the regulations on safety and communication systems on installations in the petroleum industry adopted by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate on 7 February 1992, ConocoPhillips is ordered to shut down all systems which require a functioning pressure relief system on Tor 2/4 E. These systems must remain shut down until Tor 2/4 E is equipped with a pressure relief system which complies with the regulatory requirements.
Source: Ptil, April 23, 2012