Petroleum installations on the NCS are getting steadily older. The big issue is how long they can continue to operate safely.
A great many Norwegian offshore structures are getting long in the tooth. Roughly half of them have already exceeded their original design life.
Another 25 – including fixed platforms, floating installations and pipelines – will be passing the same point over the next decade.
New technology and operating methods as well as improved oil and gas recovery methods mean that licensees often want to keep these units working past the date they were due to retire.
In many cases, continuing to use facilities beyond their design life makes socioeconomic sense. But it is not acceptable that such extensions are allowed at the expense of safety.
Ageing and life extension was a top priority in 2006-09. Many of the targets set for extending production life as a main priority have been met – standardisation, development of common guidelines and methodology, and building knowledge.
Still the PSA will be paying great attention to this area in coming years, and certain areas remain to be dealt with, including the development of regulatory requirements.
We will continue to apply the knowledge we’ve acquired about aging and extending production life to our supervision of the industry.
One of the 2012 PSA main priorities - "Barriers" - will also encourage the industry to adopt a sound approach to protecting safeguards on aging installations, including factors related to extending production life.
Kontact person in the PSA:
Gerhard Ersdal, principal engineer