Norway: Gudrun leak probe finds ‘serious breaches of regulation’

Almost a year after a hydrocarbon leak on the Statoil-run Gudrun platform offshore Norway, the Petroleum Safety Authority Noway has completed its investigation.

According to the safety watchdog, also known as the PSA Norway, the investigation has uncovered serious breaches of regulation, spurring the PSA Norway into giving a notification of an order to Statoil. To remind, the incident happened on February 18, 2015.

The PSA Norway has found that a rupture in a two-inch pipe in the bypass line directly downstream of the first-stage separator was a direct cause of the leak.

One of the largest leaks in a decade

Statoil estimated the initial leak rate at eight kilograms per second (kg/s). Condensate from the first-stage separator leaked to the open air.

The total emission/discharge is estimated at 2 800 kilograms/four cubic meters of condensate, and more than one cubic metre is estimated to have been discharged to the sea. The leak on Gudrun is regarded as one of the larger hydrocarbon escapes recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) over the past decade.

Potentially fatal

Furthermore, the PSA said that while the incident did not cause any personal injuries, it might have, in slightly different circumstances. What is more, the authorities claim that had the circumstances been different, the incident could have caused a major accident with loss of life, substantial damage to material assents and consequences for the marine environment.  There were 26 people on board at the time of the incident.

The PSA’s investigation has identified serious breaches to the regulations.

These nonconformities cover: weaknesses in Statoil’s fulfilment of its responsibilities; insufficient robustness in the design; deficiencies in information management and competence; inadequate information at shift and personnel changes; weaknesses in experience transfer and learning; execution of work on electrical installations.

Following the completion of the probe, the PSA has issued a notification of order, asking from Statoil to ensure that management of health, safety and the environment in the operation of Gudrun embraces the activities required to identify, risk-assess and deal with signals from the process plant during operation and to take the necessary measures. Furthermore, Statoil is ordered to ensure that knowledge and necessary information from key specialist teams are conveyed in a systematic and appropriate manner to the operations department, and that such information is applied in every phase.

The deadline for complying with this order is set as 1 June 2016, the PSA said.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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Posted on February 1, 2016 with tags .

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