Irregularities spotted during well plugging audit at Ekofisk

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has found irregularities during an audit of ConocoPhillips’ permanent plugging and abandonment of wells at Ekofisk 2/4 A platform off Norway. 

The PSA said on Thursday that the audit identified non-conformities linked to well barriers in permanently plugged wells and deficient risk assessments. The safety body also identified an improvement point regarding continuous improvement.

According to the PSA, the objective of the audit, conducted on June 7 and 8, was to investigate whether the operator, ConocoPhillips, planned and executed the permanent plugging and abandonment of wells at Ekofisk 2/4 A in compliance with the regulatory requirements.

“In the audit, it was clear that many of the wells, 18 out of 23, that are permanently plugged at Ekofisk 2/4 A lacked documentation in compliance with the regulatory requirements for permanent well barriers,” the safety regulator said.

The PSA added that ConocoPhillips didn’t make an adequate risk assessment of wells with deficient or defective permanent well barriers in respect of the consequences of possible leaks from a long-term perspective.

ConocoPhillips was told to document that its solutions meet the regulatory requirements from a long-term perspective and the company needs to provide feedback on the matter by December 1, 2017.

The Ekofisk 2/4 A was the first permanent platform on the Ekofisk field in the southern North Sea. Oil production from the platform began in 1974. The platform was shut down in September 2013, and permanent plugging and abandonment of the wells started in August 2014.

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