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Audit of technical and operational integrity at Valhall

During the period 26-29 November 2007, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) conducted an audit of selected elements related to technical and operational integrity on the Valhall field operated by BP Norge AS (BP). We have identified one nonconformity in relation to regulatory requirements.


The audit was conducted in the form of a start-up meeting on land and interviews with selected personnel in the land organization and on the Valhall field.

Background for the audit
Pursuant to the award letter from the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion (AID), the PSA shall set standards for and follow up to ensure that the players in the petroleum activities maintain high standards as regards health, safety and environment, and thereby contribute to creating the greatest possible values for the society.

An application has been submitted for consent to use the Valhall living quarters platform (QP), drilling/wellhead platform (DP) and process platform (PCP) beyond the original design life. In its ongoing consideration of this application, the PSA places emphasis on factors such as

  • the condition of the facilities,

  • how the facilities' integrity is documented,

  • what is included in the plans to maintain high technical and operational integrity for the facilities during the period covered by the application for operation beyond the original design life.

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BP has also submitted an application for extension of exceptions related to passive fire protection under the control room on PCP (the existing exception expires on 31 December 2007).

This audit was conducted to provide supplementary information that will be used as a basis for consideration of these applications. A few elements that are of importance for ensuring technical and operational integrity were selected for verification in the audit.

The audit was primarily conducted on the basis of the Regulations relating to management in the petroleum activities (the Management Regulations), Section 2 relating to barriers, Section 20 relating to non-conformities, Section 21 relating to follow-up and Section 22 relating to improvement.

Purpose of the audit
The purpose of the audit was to obtain a better basis on which to consider the application for consent to operate the facilities on Valhall beyond the original design life, including the above-mentioned application for exception.

We attempted to achieve this by

  • gathering supplementary information related to BP's systems for maintaining the technical and operational integrity of the facilities during the period covered by the application for operation beyond the original design life,

  • considering the information obtained in relation to audit criteria (regulatory requirements),

  • verifying the follow-up of compensatory measures in the application for exception related to passive fire protection under the control room on PCP.

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Another objective of this audit was to contribute to sharing experience following a hydrocarbon leak that occurred for another operator on the Norwegian shelf.

Result of the audit
Based on the documentation received, conversations and presentations, our impression is that thorough barrier mappings were conducted in 2004 and 2005 based on joint requirement documents established for all BP-operated facilities on the Norwegian shelf.

We have identified one non-conformity in relation to regulatory requirements within implementation and follow-up of compensatory measures in connection with non-conformities related to passive fire protection under the PCP control room.

Management follow-up of the compensatory measures has not contributed to the weaknesses listed in the grounds for the non-conformity being identified and corrected.

We have also identified an area with potential for improvement which relates to processes for decisions and implementation of measures following the barrier mappings. It does not appear that management follow-up has contributed to identification of measures to correct weaknesses in the process for following up the barrier mapping findings.

Contact person in the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Mike Theiss