Regulators Require Safety Plan Before Goliat Restarts

File image

By The Maritime Executive 2016-08-29 13:55:57

Italian oil major Eni's Goliat platform, the first and only oil development in the Barents Sea, is still shut down following the loss of shore-supplied electrical power on Friday. 

Goliat had similar problems with its electrical systems on May 10. 

Power was swiftly restored but the platform remains idled. "It will be a matter of days [before production is resumed]... As a safety precaution we won't resume production until all the facts are gathered," Andreas Wulff, the spokesman for the company in Norway, told Reuters.

Goliat gets its electrical power via a subsea cable from shore, which was at the time of construction the longest ever installed. The low-emissions power sources on the mainland mean that the platform's CO2 output from production is reduced by 50 percent. 

Regulators with Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) issued a notice to Eni Norge on Monday ordering the firm to "identify and implement necessary measures . . . in order to achieve compliance with health, safety and environmental legislation. A plan for the work of identifying and implementing measures is to be presented to the PSA by 5 September 2016.

"Once the investigation has been completed, Eni is to present a binding, time-delimited schedule with deadlines for implementing corrective measures following the incident and a description of any compensatory measures to be deployed until the non-conformity has been rectified," the agency added. 

The agency asked that the startup plan be provided to employee safety representatives, and that Eni meet with PSA and with the development lease's minority owner Statoil before resuming production. 

Production started at Goliat on March 12, after an extended period of delays due in part to commissioning problems. Overall, it ran two years behind schedule and 20 percent over budget, and the PSA delayed production startup in December after an audit found deficiencies in electrical system safety, especially with regard to ignition sources.

Employee safety delegates signed a letter to Eni Norge's senior management in July calling for management changes on the platform, citing an alleged series of safety deficiencies, including:

- Production-oriented management culture on board that deemphasized safety in favor of output
- Maintenance backlog on safety equipment
- Work-arounds used to keep running without fixing systems

Representative Trond Arvid Larsen told Norwegian media that platform management has been changed and that cooperation and maintenance have improved. Eni spokesman Andreas Wulff cited the firm’s leading safety record around the world and said that Eni took the matter seriously.