PSA audits barrier management on Ivar Aasen

From 23 to 25 September 2014, the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) Norway carried out an audit of Det norske oljeselskap ASA (Det norske) and barrier management in the Ivar Aasen development project, in the North Sea. 

The Ivar Aasen field is situated west of the Johan Sverdrup field in the North Sea, around 30 kilometres south of Grane and Balder. The field is under development, with Det norske as the operator.

Ivar Aasen is being developed using a fixed production platform. The platform will have living quarters with 70 single cabins. Normal manning during the operational phase is planned to be 23 people.

The planned production start-up for Ivar Aasen is Q4 2016.


The PSA says that through audits, investigations of incidents and the mapping of risk levels in the petroleum activities, relatively major differences have been detected between the participants in terms of their understanding, and therefore also compliance with, the regulatory requirements for barrier management. The regulations present a series of requirements for barriers. An unambiguous definition of the key terms involved will be crucial for ensuring a common understanding of the requirements, the PSA said.

According to the PSA, failures and weaknesses in barriers are a common cause of unintended incidents in the petroleum activities. The participants have implemented the regulatory requirements for barriers to varying extents – reinforcements of barriers in the different phases of a facility’s life-cycle have developed in different directions and have different levels of maturity.


This audit is a follow-up and continuation of the barrier audit performed for the development project in October 2013, the PSA explains, and adds that the object of the task was to audit Det norske’s establishment and implementation of a management system for ensuring compliance with the regulatory requirements for risk and barrier management from a life-cycle perspective.

It was of particular importance, the PSA says, to monitor how the company has evaluated the relationship between risk and hazard assessments, the need for barriers and the barriers’ role specifically on the Ivar Aasen platform. The PSA notes that it also focused on how the company is planning to ensure timely preparation and implementation of performance requirements for barrier functions and elements during the design, construction and operation of the platform.


The audit covered selected topics within the domains of technical safety, process safety and electrical plant and it was performed through presentations, group discussions with key personnel and document reviews, the PSA reports.

According to the PSA, one non-conformity and five improvement points were identified during the audit. The non-conformity relates to the choice of a shared network solution for control and safety systems.

Det norske is the operator of the unitized development, with a 34.7 percent interest. Partners are Statoil, Bayerngas, Wintershall, VNG, Lundin and OMW.

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