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Audit of maintenance management at ExxonMobil

During the period 27 February - 1 March 2007, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) audited the maintenance management at ExxonMobil (EM). After the audit, we consider that EM does not meet with the regulatory requirements for classification of equipment and the use of this classification.


Background for the audit

The PSA is tasked with providing the premises for high health, safety and environment standards and following up the players in the petroleum activities to ensure that they maintain these standards, and thus contribute to create as much value for society at large as possible.

The follow-up must be system-oriented and risk-based and be in addition to follow-up from the industry itself.

Chapter 4.12.2 of Storting report no. 7 (2001-2002) relating to health, environment and safety in the petroleum activities states, inter alia, the following on maintenance management:

"The authorities believe it is necessary to develop management models for operation and maintenance in cooperation with the industry to ensure a general strengthening of the maintenance in the petroleum activities through, inter alia, further development of methods and technologies, raising competence and research."

Chapter 5.4 of Storting report no. 12 (2005-2006) relating to health, environment and safety points out that deficient maintenance may increase the risk of major accidents, injuries and incidents, and the report refers to a rather comprehensive review of audit reports which show a relatively large number of non-conformities with the regulations.

These non-conformities include deficiencies in the prioritisation of maintenance, assessment of critical conditions and follow-up of temporary equipment, in addition to unsatisfactory documentation and not completed maintenance of equipment critical to safety. In some cases, the maintenance management competence was inadequate.

The prevailing requirements are especially stated in Chapter IX, sections 42-46 of the Activities Regulations, relating to maintenance, and Section 13 of the Management Regulations, relating to analysis requirements.

Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to look into whether EM carries out classification of systems and equipment in accordance with the prevailing regulations and recognised norms, cf. Chapter IX of the Activities Regulations, relating to maintenance.

Furthermore, it was an objective to evaluate EM's use of classification for maintenance management.

Result of the audit

The audit was carried out in the form of a presentation of elements of EM's management systems and conversations with select personnel, with a subsequent verification of governing documents, procedures and program for performing maintenance on EM's facilities in Norway.

In our opinion, EM does not meet the regulatory requirements to classification of equipment and the use of this classification. It is therefore difficult to form a correct impression of how extensive the need for maintenance really is, and how much resources will be required.

The following observations have been characterised as non-conformities, cf. Chapter 5, and have been grouped under five main areas:

  • Deficient classification of systems and equipment.
  • Several systems and pieces of equipment which EM considered critical to safety or production lack maintenance programmes.
  • Lacking documentation of the standards used by EM being in accordance with recommended standards.
  • Lacking governing documentation as regards drilling.

In addition, we have registered one area with improvement potential, the maintenance information ("Equipment Strategies") in PESTRA should be made available for all relevant users.

In closing, a comment is made regarding EM's use of the Norwegian language seen in relationship with the regulatory requirements.

Link:

Contact person in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Mike Theiss