On Wednesday at 03:40 damage to a ballast tank on Floatel Superior in the Norwegian Sea was discovered. The hole in the tank caused the rig to tilt 4 degrees, leaving Statoil no choice but to evacuate.
“Everything was calm and orderly. We didn’t feel any heeling, so the platform felt quite normal,” says Hilde Moen, who was evacuated from Floatel Superior on Wednesday, 7 November.
Moen does gas treatment research in Statoil’s Technology, projects and drilling unit. She was on the Floatel Superior to perform a job in connection with the planned shutdown on Njord A.
At 03.40, a leak was reported in a ballast tank on the accommodation platform, which developed a 3-4 degree heel. The platform was stabilised in the course of about an hour using ballast management.
“I never felt the situation was dramatic. We were first told to pack a bag, but this was countermanded by a message indicating that we should put on our survival suits and gather at the exterior muster station shortly after 10.00. It was good to see that the emergency response organisation worked as intended. We were given food and drink on board Njord A. I was on the last helicopter to shore, where we were also very well looked after. We came onshore without anything at all, but they distributed shoes, jackets and cash. They took care of accommodations and air travel for those who needed it,” says Moen.
Six helicopters were available in the area, and three of them were used to evacuate 336 people to Njord A nearby. They were transported on to Kristiansund during the course of the day.
“There was no imminent danger after we had stabilised the rig, but the visual inspection revealed a scope of damage that indicated evacuation. We then carried out a safe, secure and efficient evacuation. The margins are small in these types of situations, which is why we always want to evacuate non-essential personnel. While several people have described the incident and the evacuation as undramatic, we cannot rule out that others may have had a different perception,” says Bente Aleksandersen, emergency response manager and vice president Operations south on the Norwegian shelf in DPN Norway.
Why weren’t people on board Floatel Superior mustered earlier?”
“We note that questions have been raised about some of the decisions made while the incident unfolded. We will leave it up to the investigation to answer this,” says Aleksandersen.
Statoil has initiated an investigation, in part to map the details of the work that was done to safeguard personnel and to handle the situation.
Floatel to Kristiansund
A total of 38 people remained on board to bring the rig to land. It is now headed for Kristiansund under its own steam, and is expected to arrive at Bremnesfjord during the course of the day.
There, further preparations will be carried out before it continues on to Vestbase in Kristiansund, where it is expected to arrive on Saturday.
Floatel Superior was approved, that is to say, it received a so-called “Acknowledgement of Compliance” from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway on 22 December 2010, and started on a contract with Statoil on 1 May 2011.
“Prior to this, we carried out a number of activities to prepare for operations, including implementing several inspections of the platform and a thorough review of the documentation,” says Aleksandersen.
Statoil will ensure that the shipping company, Floatel International, completes the repair work safely and efficiently.
November 9, 2012