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High level of diving activity in the petroleum industry in 2006 - one personal injury

There were five times as many hours spent on saturation diving* in 2006 as in 2005. One personal injury and six near incidents were reported related to saturation diving for the year. The figures are derived from the PSA's report from the DSYS diving data base.

* Definitions:

  • Saturation diving: The diver works from a diving bell (which transports him under pressure from the ship's chamber to the work site) and stays under pressure in the diving vessel's pressure chamber between work sessions (bell runs).
  • Surface-oriented diving: The diver enters the water from the surface, performs the jobs at the relevant depth (less than 50 metres water depth), and subsequently returns to the surface. Additional compression/decompression in a pressure chamber on the surface may be relevant for this type of diving.

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has set up several data bases in order to record and systematize data on incidents related to the petroleum activities. We have established the DSYS data base for manned underwater operations. The DSYS reporting comes from reports on forms from NAV (Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation) with attachments, and from the operator companies' activity reports.

The report from DSYS 2006 contains statistics and analyses based on data from 1985. A report from this diving data base was posted on the web for the first time last year.

High activity level - few injuries
For 2006, there were reports of one personal injury and six near incidents in connection with saturation diving. The personal injury was a minor one, a cut/wound to a hand. These figures represent a small number of undesired incidents, considering the high level of activity.

Last year, we had reports of 103.220 man hours in saturations. This is almost five times higher than the activity level for 2005.

The reasons for the high activity level are the relatively extensive diving operations being conducted for Marathon (Alvheim project), ConocoPhillips (Ekofisk FTP bypass- and subsea inspection project) and Statoil (including Volve, Langeled II and III).

The Petroleum Safety Authority expects the saturation diving activities to stay at the approximate same level or above in 2007.

20 years without any fatal accidents
Over the past 12 years, one incident of decompression sickness has been reported related to saturation diving. The last fatality related to this type of diving operation happened in 1987.

As for surface oriented diving there were 145 hours in the water reported for 2006. This corresponds to the activity level in 2005. There have been no reports of personal injuries or near dangerous incidents related to this type of diving since 1999.

Contact at the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway:
Inger Anda, press contact
E-mail: inger.anda@ptil.no
Telephone: (+47) 970 54 064