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Industry asked to assess emergency preparedness

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has contacted the Norwegian Oil Industry Association (OLF) to stress the need to assess how good the sector’s emergency preparedness principles are for halting a possible subsea blowout off Norway. The OLF has also been asked to assess existing strategies for limiting the harmful effects of a blowout until it can be halted, and to identify possible improvement requirements.

“In light of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s important that the industry and the government evaluate Norway’s emergency preparedness,” says PSA director-general Magne Ognedal.

“We must assess the need for new practices, for developing innovative technology and/or for a new understanding of response requirements.

“BP has done much on a trial and error basis, and Norway can take advantage of the lessons learned. The PSA has emphasised the need to secure such benefits to the OLF, which has confirmed that it will coordinate the work and takes the issue seriously.”

Following a report from Ken Salazar, the US secretary of the interior (see link in right-hand margin), the PSA has made a preliminary comparison of his 21 recommendations with the minimum requirements set in Norwegian regulations.

This assessment indicates that Mr Salazar’s proposed improvements in the USA have largely been implemented already in Norway.

However, four or five of his points call for a more detailed evaluation in a Norwegian context, and the PSA is now working to give these a specific content.

The PSA will constantly assess the need to make the Norwegian regulations and guidelines more precise and/or to improve methods for verifying technical condition on the basis of lessons learnt from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.