A potential consent for exploration drilling in the northern areas is conditional on the industry documenting that consideration for people, the environment and material assets has been carefully complied with in all phases of the activities.
The PSA cooperates with the SFT and the Directorate for Health and Social Affairs on a comprehensive regulation of the petroleum supervision on the Norwegian shelf. The PSA coordinates this collaboration.
"Together with other authorities involved we will assess the companies' plans for petroleum activities in the Barents Sea. The companies must document that they are able to comply with the regulatory requirements for health, safety and the environment," PSA Director Magne Ognedal emphasizes.
The same HSE regulatory requirements
The HSE regulatory requirements for the petroleum activities are functionally designed, i.e. that the requirements for a proper health, safety and environmental level is the same for all petroleum activities on the Norwegian shelf. Also the supervision is systematic and based on risk.
This means that the companies must adapt the choice of installation, equipment, production methods, management systems, barriers and emergency preparedness to specific activities in defined areas.
The Barents Sea is inter alia characterized by large distances, lack of infrastructure, polar nights and a tough climate.
Special consideration for the environment and fisheries in the northern areas has also been imposed on the companies. Among other things, the Government presupposes that all petroleum activities in the Barents Sea are to be based on zero discharges to sea from drilling and well operations during normal operations. The exception is drilled cuttings and drill fluid from the top hole section, which can normally be released to the seabed.
"These are factors that will demand particular attention when the authorities process applications for consent to activities in the Barents Sea," Magne Ognedal emphasizes.
Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC)
The Acknowledgement of Compliance (AoC) is an advisory statement from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway to the rig owner to the effect that the mobile installation's technical condition, the applicant's organization and management system have been assessed to be in compliance with relevant Norwegian offshore regulatory requirements. On 1 January 2004 the AoC scheme was made mandatory for mobile drilling installations.
Applications in accordance with requirements for environmental documentation
The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) will follow up the Pollution Act and process documents concerning the requirements for the external environment, including emission/discharge applications and the companies' analysis of environmental risk and emergency preparedness/oil spill response in connection with exploration activities.
The responsible authorities (Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, Norwegian Pollution Control Authority and the Norwegian board of health) process the individual parts of a consent application with associated documents/applications in accordance with their areas of responsibility.
The conclusions reached by the authorities will be communicated in coordinated decisions.
Contact in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Telephone: +47 970 54 064