Norwegian oil giant, Statoil, said that broad efforts have been made to identify the direct and underlying causes of the Gullfaks C well control event on 19 May 2010. The company has responded today to the most recent post-incident orders from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA).
As required by the PSA, risk assessment and work processes in the drilling and well area at Statoil have been evaluated and improved. This has contributed to safer drilling processes and closer collaboration between the group’s operational teams and technical specialists.
Work has also been carried out to identify improvement areas in the group which can help to ensure better learning from incidents.
The International Research Institute of Stavanger (Iris) has conducted an external study into why measures adopted after earlier incidents with similar causes have failed to produce the desired effect on Gullfaks.
Union-management action teams have also worked in parallel on the same issue to assess whether the main findings of this work are also valid for other parts of the organisation.
Seven areas of improvement have been identified on the basis of the Iris report and Statoil’s own work.
“A major and important effort has been made to ensure that we’ll learn from the Gullfaks incident,” says Øystein Michelsen, executive vice president for Development and Production Norway.
“Through good collaboration with the employee representatives, we’ve jointly laid the basis for stronger learning and improvement work.”
Statoil will be simplifying its management system and reducing bureaucracy, as well as making managers better able to take responsibility and use the authority they are given.
At the same time, it will be strengthening its values base by working for a more open and reflective corporate culture.
The group also intends to continue developing investigations of incidents into an even more important tool for learning from such events.
A major accident forum will be established to focus attention on events which have a potential for developing into incidents of this kind, and to draw lessons from these.
Another move involves further developing and strengthening knowledge-sharing in the group through more systematic training of its employees and closer collaboration with its contractors.
“A number of the measures we’ve identified are already integrated in parts of our organisation, while others are in the process of being so,” says Michelsen.
“It’s inspiring to see that a continuous commitment to health, safety and the environment [HSE] in recent years has reduced the number of serious incidents in our group.”
The union-management action teams in Statoil have worked to develop good measures based on the Iris report and their own data gathering.
Management and union officials are collectively committed to the improvement areas and the goal of creating an even safer workplace in order to become a industry leader for HSE.
“All experience shows that we must work long-term and systematically to reach our HSE goals,” says Tove Stuhr Sjøblom, executive vice president for corporate staffs and services.
“We’ve learnt a lot after the well control incident on Gullfaks in 2010. The measures we’re adopting will strengthen us as an organisation.”
“The proposed improvement areas represent a long-term change of direction which the unions are very confident will strengthen Statoil’s ability to achieve continuous improvement,” says the employee representatives.
We’re keeping a close eye on developments, and want to contribute to the success of Statoil through a constructive and effective collaboration with management.”
Offshore Energy Today Staff, December 19, 2011; Image: Statoil