Photo of Arne Sigve Nylund

Straight from the top

Arne Sigve Nylund, executive vice president, exploration and production Norway, Statoil

Management responsibility. The PSA has devoted special attention over many years to the way the management of companies in the petroleum sector works on risk reduction. It is continuing this focus in 2015 through its main priority on management responsibility. An important goal here is that the companies must ensure the maintenance and continued development of a high level of HSE even with changed operating parameters.

What do you regard as the biggest safety challenges facing Norway’s petroleum industry today?

We must be aware of the major accident potential in everything we do. That’s our biggest priority. Progress in the industry has been good over time, something the PSA’s RNNP reports on trends in risk level in the petroleum activity also show.

Nevertheless, we mustn’t be satisfied with the status quo, but always keep safety work fresh and pursue renewal without changing too much.

What is your most important motivation in the work of reducing major accident risk?

Safety is our most important priority. The motivation to reduce the threat of major accidents lies deep within us all. Nobody wants to run a business which could harm people or the environment.

And we know that a safe facility is also an efficient one. I believe it’s wholly necessary to work with safety as an integrated part of our operations.

Statoil is now pursuing a big process for efficiency improvements and cost reductions. Why are you doing this, and what consequences will it have for activity on the NCS?

We’re enhancing efficiency now in order to safeguard long-term value creation and employment. That follows rising costs in the industry over several years, combined with a recognition that we can work more efficiently.

If we don’t act today, we risk resources being left in the ground because they’re not commercial. Nobody benefits from that, as today’s market uncertainty reminds us.

We regard what we’re doing as an important part of the responsibility we’ve been given to safeguard value creation from the NCS in a safe and effective manner.

In this way, we’ll ensure that our record-large project portfolio is realised and secure a long producing life for existing installations.

How will you ensure that the measures being initiated will also contribute to continuous improvement in safety, as required by the regulations?

We’re working really hard to ensure that our inspection programmes are risk-based and that maintenance will be conducted with the right division between preventive and corrective work.

We believe that the systematic approach we’re taking here will actually improve the condition of our facilities by letting us set the right priorities and do the most important jobs first.

When we see a challenge, we also get to grips with it. A case in point is Heimdal, where we deployed a flotel this summer and got a lot of good work done.

You are reducing investment and downsizing, while the volume of work is increasing. Facilities on the NCS are getting steadily older and the backlog of pending maintenance is constantly growing. In purely practical terms, how are you going to avoid cost cuts and efficiency improvements affecting safety?

As I’ve already said, safety is our most important priority. Efficiency enhancements and tidying up maintenance plans have been and remain necessary.

The goal is to work better on maintenance, and we believe that no contradiction exists between working efficiently and taking care of safety. On the contrary, our view is that improved prioritisation and planning will also allow maintenance to be done better.

That’ll also mean cost reductions, which will be very important in securing a long producing life for our facilities because margins will become smaller.