Safety Audit Reveals Breaches at Equinor's Offshore Grane Oil Field

safety issues identified during audit a Norway's Grane Field
Platform in Grane field - Øyvind_Hagen photo courtesy of Equinor

Published Oct 26, 2020 3:51 PM by The Maritime Executive

A safety audit of the North Sea oil field known as Grane revealed serious regulatory breaches, according to Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority. Discovered in 1991, and online since 2003, the Grane was the first field on the Norwegian continental shelf to produce heavy crude oil and recently has been the center of renewed investment as the oil companies seek new sources.

The objective of the safety audit, which was conducted in late May and early June 2020, was to verify that Equinor’s and the contractor’s management of the working environment. The inspectors were looking at risk prevention for employees being exposed to health hazards and risks.

The Petroleum Safety Authority reports that five non-conformities were identified, including issues related to the management of risks in the working environment, the risk of musculoskeletal disorders, and the physical and chemical working environment. They also reported notations relating to the manning and competence as well as training of the safety delegates.

Equinor must now perform a comprehensive review of the working environment conditions at Grane and follow up on the non-conformities contained in the order and report back on how those and other non-conformities in the report will be addressed. Equinor is required to submit a time-delimited schedule for complying with the order by November 15, 2020, and respond to the Petroleum Safety Authority by December 21, 2020.

Specifically among the areas they were instructed to review is the company’s management system and practices for the working environment. Elements include the process for systematically identifying potential working environment risks, mapping of the working environment for assessing health risks, and undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment of working environment factors at the group level and ensuring it is used as decision support for measures to ensure safety. They must also establish processes to ensure that the measures are followed up and their outcomes are validated and verified by qualified personnel.

The deadline for complying with the order is February 26, 2021, with the PSA requiring notification when the order is carried out.

This comes as Equinor has been planning efforts to increase activity in the area with the platform at Grane becoming a hub. Equinor recently announced that it had given an engineering, construction, and installation contract for a pipeline to the nearby Breidablikk field that it is planning to develop. The plan calls for the pipeline to link the new field to the production platform at the Grane for processing and shipment through the existing link to the Sture terminal ashore.