In the first and second quarters of 2014, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway has carried out an audit of the management of well clean-up and well testing on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
The activity was directed at the management, planning and execution of well clean-up and well testing on fixed platforms and production testing on mobile facilities.
The audit was conducted as a series of meetings with three contracting companies which perform these types of operations and three operating companies that they have contracts with.
– Well clean-up is an activity performed on producing wells where hydrocarbons and other fluids are brought to the surface through permanently installed equipment in order to clean the well and perforations before the well is put back into production.
– Well testing is an activity carried out on exploration wells where hydrocarbons are brought to the surface and processed in permanently or temporarily installed equipment on board in order to test the well’s production characteristics.
Well testing is often performed on mobile facilities using temporarily installed equipment by personnel who are only on these facilities for short periods.
Well testing of exploration wells is an activity containing risk elements which have the potential to develop into a major accident.
The PSA explains that the regulations include requirements for well control and the functioning of both permanent and temporary equipment and the competence of the personnel involved. The PSA also adds that the guidelines to the regulations include the recommended use of recognised norms in order to meet the requirements.
The PSA says the audit was to examine in particular the supervision and management of the planning and execution of well clean-up and well testing, including risk assessments from a major accident perspective. It was also to look at how interaction between the different companies’ representatives functioned and how responsibilities and communication were organised for the participants in the activity.
It also looked at roles and responsibilities during the operation, and how contractors and sub-contractors were qualified and supervised by the operating company.
Furthermore, the PSA notes that the attention was also paid to how the operator fulfilled his supervisory duty in this context.
It was readily apparent during the audit that cooperation between operators, drilling contractors and testing companies worked well, the PSA concludes.
According to the PSA, although not all the operating companies had sufficient expertise to plan the activities in detail, they had the necessary procurement expertise and therefore acquired the necessary competence from the contractors. The series of meetings revealed that the operators exercised good control of planning and execution of the activities.
The audit also showed that the testing companies conducted their own quality check of the activity.
It also emerged from the audit that serious incidents occurred relatively rarely. Incidents that have occurred have led to preventive measures being implemented in order to prevent similar occurrences in the future.
The PSA says that no non-conformities were identified during the audit. Five improvement points were identified.
Image: Odfjell Drilling