Offshore safety watchdog orders Statoil to shape up after Gudrun leak

Norwegian offshore safety watchdog, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA), has issued an order to Statoil following the investigation of the hydrocarbon leak at Gudrun platform, in the North Sea offshore Norway, that occurred in February 2015. 

The safety authority completed its investigation almost a year later, in February 2016, and identified serious breaches of the regulations. The agency followed up by issuing a notification of order to the operating company, Statoil.

According to the PSA, the proximate cause of the incident was a leak from a rupture in a 2″ pipe in the bypass line directly downstream of the first-stage separator. The initial leak rate was estimated by Statoil at 8 kg/s. Condensate from the first-stage separator leaked to the open air.

The total emission/discharge is estimated at 2,800 kg (4 cubic metres) of condensate and more than 1 cubic metre is estimated to have been discharged into 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, the PSA emphasized.

The incident did not cause any injuries to offshore workers on board.

The agency claimed that, under marginally different circumstances, the incident could have resulted in a major accident with loss of life, substantial material damage and impacts on the marine environment.

In conformity with the notification of order, the PSA now issued the following order to Statoil:

“Pursuant to the Framework Regulations, section 69 concerning administrative decisions, with reference to the Management Regulations, section 6 concerning the management of health, safety and the environment, section 15 concerning information and section 21 concerning follow-up, we order Statoil to ensure that the management of health, safety and the environment in the operation of Gudrun comprises those activities necessary for identifying, risk-assessing and processing signals from operational process facilities and to implement requisite measures. And furthermore to ensure that knowledge and necessary information from key technical experts is communicated in a systematic and appropriate manner to operations, and to ensure that such information is made use of in all phases.

“The deadline for complying with the order is set at 1 June 2016. We are to be notified when the order has been carried out.”

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