The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued an order to Statoil following the investigation of the hydrocarbon leak at Statfjord C platform in the Norwegian part of the North Sea.
The investigation identified serious breaches of the regulations.
The hydrocarbon leak occurred in connection with the transfer of stabilised oil from Statfjord A to Statfjord C. While the transfer was taking place, a mud pump in the Statfjord C shaft was being readied for maintenance. An isolation valve for this mud pump leaked and the pump housing filled with oil. This oil was drained into a sump tank at the bottom of the shaft via an open drain valve.
Once the level in the sump tank rose to 70%, the pump started so as to transfer the fluid in the sump tank to the oily water tank under the cellar deck. The valve for regulating the level in the oily water tank did not open and oil leaked through water locks on the cellar deck.
Based on the findings made during the investigation, the PSA issued Statoil with a notification of order.
In conformity with the notification, Statoil is now issued with the order under which it has to review its system for follow-up and identify the causes of the failure to detect the technical, operational and organisational weaknesses, failings and omissions that have been demonstrated and to implement necessary measures.
The deadline for complying with the order is set at October 1, 2014..
“We are to be notified when the order has been carried out,” the Norwegian offshore petroleum watchdog PSA said.
Explanation of the terms “order” and “notification of order”
An order is an administrative decision made pursuant to the regulations. Before PSA issues an order, a “notification of order” is generally sent to the affected companies.
A notification of order is neither an instrument nor a notice of sanctions, but a step in the PSA’s case processing in which PSA requests the party to assess the factual basis. The notification is only the first step before an administrative decision is made.
An order is a strongly preventive instrument which is legally binding on the recipient.