Safety probe of Shell’s Knarr FPSO reveals flaws

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has detected several issues during an audit of Shell’s Knarr FPSO offshore Norway. 

Knarr is located in the North Sea west of Måløy in Sogn og Fjordane county and approx. 50 kilometers north-east of Snorre.

The field, which is in 410 meters of water, has been developed using subsea wells and a floating production unit, Petrojarl Knarr FPSO. Oil is loaded from Knarr FPSO into tankers, while the gas is piped to St. Fergus in Scotland. Production on the field began in March 2015. Shortly after the start-up, the FPSO was hit by a fire incident, caused by design errors and faulty operations.

Shell is the operator of the field, while Teekay owns and operates the Petrojarl Knarr. Shell took over operatorship of Knarr from BG Group Norway in February 2016.

From 3 to 6 October 2016, the PSA carried out an audit of how Shell is managing the integrity of flexible risers, transfer lines and associated safety equipment, and of Teekay’s activities as production operator. Petrojarl Knarr FPSO received Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) from the PSA in October 2014.

The audit revealed non-conformities relating to verpressure protection of gas export pipeline; follow-up of overpressure protection performance requirements; passive fire protection; and follow-up of flexible pipelines.

In addition, improvement points were detected in connection with labeling of equipment; follow-up and verification; and maintenance management.

The companies have been given a deadline of February 1, 2017, to report on how the non-conformities will be dealt with and how the improvement points will be assessed.

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