Safety inspectors have ordered Dana Petroleum to improve practices on its Western Isles vessel over concerns control room staff are not suitably trained to work unsupervised.
The Dana-operated Western Isles floating production storage and offload (FPSO) currently serves the Harris and Barra oil fields in the northern North Sea, around 100 miles east of Shetland.
Following a recent inspection, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) said the company was “unable to demonstrate that some of [its] control room operators have achieved the level of competence to work unsupervised in the role” as required by the company’s management documents.
An improvement notice issued to the group said that by failing to comply with its safety case for the asset, Dana was exposed to increased risks to safe and reliable operation and its ability to prevent or respond to emergencies.
A spokesman for the operator said: “Dana Petroleum continues to operate Western Isles within our required manning and competency levels. We are working to provide the HSE with the required evidence to satisfy their concerns.”
The HSE said it had previously written to the company regarding this issue and gave it until 31 January to improve.
The Korean state-backed operator was warned earlier this year over its safety and environmental checks on both its operated FPSOs – Triton and Western Isles – after the HSE took issue with the frequency of internal audits.
It follows a deal struck with licence partner NEO Energy announced earlier this month which would see the latter firm take over the vessel at the end of its tenure in March next year.
NEO says it intends to redeploy the FPSO at the Greater Buchan Area redevelopment.
Dana filed a draft decommissioning programme for the sailaway of the asset at the beginning of 2023 – ending its service at the field eight years earlier than planned – and which has now been approved.
The FPSO will continue to be operated by Dana Petroleum until completion of its contract around the end of March 2024.
NEO has plans for a “relatively modest” work programme to prepare the FPSO for redeployment on Buchan, according to joint project partner Jersey Oil & Gas.
A redevelopment of a former Repsol Sinopec field in the Moray Firth, Buchan is one of the largest pre-FID projects in the UK North Sea, with an estimated 162m barrels of oil equivalent (gross 2C). FEED work on the project is underway, having begun earlier this year.