Regulators Order Eni to Fix Electrical Issues at Goliat

The Goliat platform (Eni)

Published Nov 6, 2017 9:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued a second notice of order to Italian oil major Eni related to the electrical issues that have shuttered its giant Goliat oil platform in the Barents Sea. The follow-up letter centers on management issues, including the "follow-up and handling of nonconformities" that PSA has already identified.

At a meeting with PSA, Eni reported that 38 percent of the explosion-proof motors it surveyed aboard Goliat did not conform to requirements regarding potential sources of ignition. 3.5 percent presented serious nonconformities, according to Eni's estimation. 

Despite warnings from PSA about the risks posed by these potential hazards, Eni restarted production on October 3, according to a new report from newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. PSA ordered a shutdown three days later. "A high fault rate with the Ex integrity of the equipment was established through random sampling of reports from Ex inspections of electric motors incorporating an emergency stop arrangement. This also included equipment in hazardous areas," PSA said in an order dated October 6.

Eni complied with the shutdown order and began to make corrections. However, PSA spokeswoman Eileen O'Connell Brundtland told Reuters on Monday that the agency had found instances in which Eni had corrected problems on paper, but had not actually made the repairs.  "We don't have grounds to say that they have done this intentionally," she said. 

An Eni spokesman said Monday that the firm intends to correct these faults and restart production within weeks, "not before outstanding work has been carried out." The new order from PSA centers on the completion of the corrections, and it requires Eni to:

- Review nonconformities which have been closed without adequate correction to ensure the necessary handling of the nonconformities and adequate correction. 

- Review the company’s system for following up identified nonconformities, so that the nonconformities are corrected.

- Conduct a review of the management system for the electrical discipline area and implement the measures necessary to ensure that roles and responsibilities are defined and understood.

The ongoing problems at Goliat – which has shut down at least seven times since it entered operation in March 2016 – has led some environmental groups to call for PSA to revoke Eni's operator responsibility for the platform. NGOs Bellona and Friends of the Earth have both called for Eni's tenure at Goliat to end, and Lars Haltbrekken, a member of parliament with the opposition party Socialist Left, has asked Norway's energy minister whether it is appropriate for the Italian firm to continue its operatorship.