Equinor’s chief executive has vowed to toughen safety measures after the firm experienced “several serious incidents” throughout 2020.
However, the Norwegian energy giant was also keen to stress that it achieved a reduction in the number of serious incidents and personal injuries throughout the year, compared to 2019.
It said the results supported a “good trend in safety performance” during the last decade, but also demonstrate the need for further improvements.
Equinor recorded a total of 67 serious incidents and near misses in 2020, 15 of which happened in the fourth quarter.
Examples of safety breaches include hydrocarbon leaks, dropped objects, personal injuries and incidents involving processing and production equipment.
The number of hydrocarbon leaks at onshore plants and offshore installations went up from 10 in 2019 to 11 last year.
Two serious fires at onshore plants, at Melkøya in September and at Tjeldbergodden in December, are also still under investigation.
Reports of these incidents are expected to be completed in the first quarter.
According to the 2020 safety statistics of incidents and personal injuries, the general development continues in the “right direction”, both in terms of serious incidents and personal injuries.
Last year, the average serious incident frequency per million hours worked (SIF) dropped from 0.6 in 2019 to 0.5.
The total recordable injury frequency per million hours worked (TRIF) fell from 2.5 to 2.3.
Anders Opedal, CEO of Equinor, said: “Fires and other serious incidents in 2020 demonstrate that we are not where we need to be in terms of our safety work.
“We will therefore strengthen this work further to run our operations at an even higher safety level. The progress we see in the number of incidents and personal injuries indicates that we are working on the right measures across the company, and that inspires us in the work ahead.
“We can be motivated by the results and improvements we achieve over time. However, we must understand risk better and demonstrate that we learn from earlier incidents by avoiding new incidents. Only then will we succeed in taking our safety work to the next level.”
In an effort to improve its safety record, Equinor is investigating serious incidents and near-misses to find causes and implement measures.
Conclusions and findings will be shared across the company and with partners and suppliers to ensure learning.
The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and other regulatory bodies are also investigating incidents or near-misses in Equinor’s activities.
Last month, the watchdog launched an investigation after a worker on the company’s Heidrun installation was hit in the head with a crane hook.
Mr Opedal said: “It is important that findings and conclusions from the investigations carried out by us and the authorities lead to learning and are translated into specific actions and measures.
We have a long-term perspective on developing our safety culture. The implementation of the “I am safety” initiative is crucial and is about creating a safe workplace for everyone and a culture for speaking out.
“We are also establishing a project on process safety to further enhance our understanding of risk, compliance and competence to operate our installations, both onshore and offshore, even more safely and avoid major accidents also in the future.”