Five sets of regulations have been adopted for health, safety and the environment (HSE) in Norway’s offshore petroleum sector and at selected petroleum plants on land.
An investigation by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) into a naphtha leak from the cracker at the Mongstad refinery near Bergen on 24 October 2017 has identified several breaches of the regulations.
Norway’s petroleum regime is often referred to as the Norwegian model. This complex system can be hard to grasp, but respecting it is fundamental for managing and strengthening safety.
Safety does not always get taken into account in mathematical calculations – because how do you put a price on a high level of safety? And what is avoiding a major accident worth?
Trust is crucial to the Norwegian regime, with its emphasis on performance-based regulations, giving responsibility to the players, and risk- and dialogue-based supervision.
A hard look at basic safety issues in Norway’s petroleum sector is set to shape government policy in this area and has clear links with the PSA’s main issue for 2018 – valuing safety choices.
What do leading executives in the petroleum industry mean when they talk about “putting safety first”? asks PSA director general Anne Myhrvold. Is this truly taken into account when they adopt budgets, approve a maintenance plan or choose new technology?
Safety is not much mentioned in presentations by petroleum industry leaders – except at the PSA’s events. The question is why this subject seems to be less important than oil prices, projects and forecasts in the sector’s public discussions.
Through its audits, the PSA has helped to increase understanding in the industry about the significance of robust approaches in times characterised by cost pressures and cutbacks.
Appropriate and updated standards play an essential role in Norway’s regulatory regime. The PSA therefore devotes big resources to this work and keeps a close eye on how the industry develops, updates and applies such norms.
Good cooperation between employee and employer helps to secure a high level of HSE in Norway’s petroleum sector. Strengthening such “inter-party” collaboration was therefore a key priority for reversing the trend.