Safety forum to focus audits on ageing assets

An unmanned gas platform in the southern North Sea
An unmanned gas platform in the southern North Sea

An alliance of North Sea safety agencies is to focus efforts on the safe operation and maintenance of ageing facilities.

The North Sea Offshore Authorities Forum (NSOAF) will spend the next two years aiming to secure and share experience with its member countries.

In a statement released through Norwegian watchdog the Petroleum Safety Authority, the organisation said defective or deficient maintenance has “often” proved to be a contributory cause of major accidents.

The statement added: “It is because of the potential for major accidents that maintenance management in general, and the maintenance of safety-critical equipment in particular, have been given so much emphasis in the petroleum industry in these countries.

“Maintenance management and safe operations are also relevant for the NSOAF countries in the light of the substantial cost reductions the industry is making due to the fall in the oil price.

“All the member countries have ageing facilities in operation, with the challenges that such facilities represent.”

Each country will collect data through a series of audits and each of the audits will be reported individually.

Member countries will then prepare a joint report, detailing their experiences. This is scheduled to be published in 2018.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway is planning three audits relating to this cooperation in 2017.