Norwegian authorities have said Statoil committed a serious safety breach following a potentially fatal gas leak on its Gudrun platform.
The Petroleum Safety Authority confirmed today it had completed its investigation into the hydrocarbon leak on North Sea facility in February 2015.
The PSA’s investigation has identified serious breaches to Norwegian safety regulations.
It found weaknesses in Statoil’s fulfilment of its responsibilities; insufficient robustness in the design; deficiencies in information management and competence; inadequate information at shift and personnel changes; weaknesses in experience transfer and learning execution of work on electrical installations.
It added that several of the non-conformities also involved weaknesses in management follow-up to ensure that activities are conducted in an acceptable manner.
The PSA has now given operator Statoil notification of an order that it must comply with June.
An internal investigation by Statoil classified the leak as the ‘highest degree of seriousness’.
Its report into the incident, which happened in February, found the outcome could have been fatal if anyone had been exposed to the leak although no-one was incident.
The PSA said the direct cause of the incident was a leak from a rupture in a two-inch pipe in the bypass line directly downstream of the first-stage separator.
Statoil estimated the initial leak rate at eight kilograms per second (kg/s). Condensate from the first-stage separator leaked to the open air.
The PSA said the total emission/discharge was estimated at 2,800 kilograms/four cubic metres of condensate, and more than one cubic metre is estimated to have been discharged to the sea.
The leak on Gudrun is regarded as one of the larger hydrocarbon escapes recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) over the past decade.
In its findings published today, the PSA said: “In slightly different circumstances, the incident could have resulted in a major accident with loss of life, substantial damage to material assents and consequences for the marine environment.”
Statoil has been ordered to ensure that management of health, safety and the environment in the operation of Gudrun embraces the activities required to identify, risk-assess and deal with signals from the process plant during operation and to take the necessary measures.
The PSA has also ordered Statoil to ensure that knowledge and necessary information from key specialist teams are conveyed in a systematic and appropriate manner to the operations department, and that such information is applied in every phase.
The deadline for complying with this order is set as 1 June 2016.