A Norwegian oil and gas industry report into the safety of working in the Arctic Circle has emphasised the needs to focus on preventing pollution rather than cleaning it up.
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has worked with the University of Stavanger (UiS) and its International Research Institute of Stavanger (Iris) to produce a report on the technological and operational issues of operating in the Arctic Circle.
Technology and operational challenges for the high north was commissioned by the PSA to bring together existing knowledge held by the industry, the authorities and research institutes.
The aim was to provide a basis for furthering knowledge of work in the region but also to provide an overview of what projects were planned in the area.
Finn Carlsen, a director of supervision at the PSA, said: “The result is positive, with the report showing that much has been learnt on this subject in Norway, and that many relevant industry projects are planned or in progress.
“This overview gives us a good basis for our future planning, including regulatory development and expertise acquisition. It’ll also be interesting for every player looking to the high north.”
However, he said: “One of our key challenges is to influence the industry to pay more attention to preventing pollution than to cleaning it up.
“Findings in the report…show that this work must be intensified and the trend reversed. Prevention must also be the main focus in the high north.”
Mr Carlsen emphasised that recommendations in the report have been made for the consultants’ own account.
“We’ll now be reviewing and assessing these proposals, but it’ll be up to us to define which of them we choose to take on board and continue to work with.”
But one area needs no assessment, he added.
Kjell Gunnar Dørum, who has represented the PSA in the project together with Mr Carlsen, said: “This report once again clearly illustrates the diversity of Norway’s far northern regions.
“The picture in these areas is complex, not least in relation to climatic variables. That’s not a new observation, but it underlines the need to take account of these differences when planning far northern activities.”
Technological and safety challenges related to petroleum operations in the high north have traditionally been presented as very special.
“The report helps to slay that myth,” Mr Dørum said. “From a safety perspective, activity in these areas largely involves well-known issues.”