The audit was conducted from 15 May to 1 July 2020.

Background

Equinor has pursued a number of cost-cutting and efficiency-enhancing processes in recent years, including in its development and production Norway (DPN) business area, and has established a new business area for field life extension (FLX) in 2020.

Necessary adaptations made by the company to meet commercial goals may have consequences for safety and the working environment, and affect its ability to prevent major accidents.

The PSA has audited Equinor DPN’s internal follow up over a number of years, and this year’s exercise has concentrated on the company’s follow-up in UPN and FLX.

Purpose

The purpose of the audit was to check that Equinor’s follow-up of its management system for health, safety and the environment (HSE) is in accordance with company and government requirements.

It also checked that this follow-up contributed to preventing major accidents and to ensuring continuous improvement of the level of HSE in the company.

Results

Two nonconformities and an improvement point were identified by the audit.

The nonconformities cover providing for employee participation (Equinor DPN has failed to ensure necessary time for this in developing and following up the management system) and failure to follow up such provision.

The improvement point concerned evaluation of the follow-up.

PSA audits over a number of years have identified deficiencies (both nonconformities and improvement points) in providing for employee participation in Equinor DPN. These checks have identified conflicts between safety and union work – in other words, insufficient time has been allotted for safety work.

They have also identified inadequate or no training of safety delegates, and the late involvement of these employee representatives in issues with significance for HSE.

Although the PSA has, in the individual audits, accepted the company’s corrections to the specific nonconformities and improvement points identified, it sees from the latest audit that provision for employee participation still fails to comply with the regulatory requirements.

Notice of order

Serious breaches of the regulations have been identified, and Equinor has now been given notice of the following order.

Pursuant to section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions and section 21 of the management regulations on follow-up, see section 13 of the framework regulations on employee participation, Equinor DPN is ordered to verify compliance in all its operational areas with the regulatory requirement to provide for employee participation and with the internal requirements established in WR2362, pursuant to sections 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 of the report.

The deadline for presenting a scheduled plan for compliance with the order is set to 4 December 2020. The deadline for compliance with the order is 1 March 2021. This report must also contain a description of the results of the verification.

Possible comments on the notice must reach us no later than 13 November 2020.

The report contains a description of the identified nonconformities which form the basis for the notice of an order, and we would request an explanation of how these nonconformities will be dealt with.