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Gassco receives notification of order following audit of pipelines

During the period 3-12 October 2006, the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) audited Gassco AS' (Gassco) management and follow-up of operation and maintenance of pipelines with equipment in Zeebrugge and Dunkerque. Based on some findings during the audit, we have issued a notification of order to Gassco.

Statoil, as the Technical Service Provider (TSP) was also involved in the audit activity. The audit was carried out in the form of meetings and verifications in Zeebrugge and Dunkerque.

Representatives from the French authorities also participated in meetings and verifications in Dunkerque.

Background for the audit

Key priorities for our HSE follow-up is to

  • ensure that the players follow up matters related to technical conditions and aging of the facilities,

  • ensure that the players guard against events which have a large potential to cause major accidents and accidents causing loss of life or serious personal injury, including hydro-carbon leaks.


Purpose of the audit

The purpose of the audit was to verify the operator's compliance with the regulatory requirements as well as internal requirements established during the course of operation and maintenance of the Zeepipe and Franpipe pipelines with related equipment in Belgium and France, respectively.

Furthermore, we wanted to verify the operator's system for following up the TSP, and ensure that relevant parts of the TSP's management systems have been established and implemented in Zeebrugge and Dunkerque.

Result of the audit

We have found deficiencies as regards testing of emergency shutdown valves (ESDV), in addition to finding that there was no overall philosophy or requirements regarding testing of this kind of valves, something which Gassco, as the operator, has the supervisor responsibility for.

Based on our findings, we have given Gassco the following notification of order:

Pursuant to Section 5, second subsection of the Framework Regulations relating to responsibility under this regulation, Section 32 of the Facilities Regulations relating to emergency shutdown systems, Section 33 relating to process safety systems, Section 22 of the Activities Regulations relating to procedures and Section 42 relating to maintenance, Gassco is ordered to ensure that an overall philosophy and procedures for testing ESD valves are established for all facilities and pipeline systems under Gassco's area of responsibility, and that such valves are tested according to the regulatory requirements, cf. Chapter 5.1 of the report.

The deadline for presenting a binding schedule for complying with the order is set to 15 January 2007.

We have communicated to Gassco that any comments to the notification must be in our hands by 14 December 2006.

During the audit, we identified a potential for improvement as regards the follow-up of previous TCS reviews (Technical Condition Safety) as well as insufficient assessment as regards updating previously conducted risk analyses for the landing area in Zeebrugge.

In the audit report we have also made some comments to the ongoing work of establishing Gassco's own management system for Zeebrugge and Dunkerque, as well as the planned upgrade of the safety system HIMA for the Zeebrugge facility.

Link:Explanation of the terms "order" and "notification of order"

Press contact:
Ole-Johan Faret
Telephone: +47 51 87 67 59