• Letter with notice of order was sent to Equinor on 15 December 2020.
  • The order was issued on 11 January 2021.

Conducted from 20 October to 6 November 2020, this audit was a follow-up to the observations made in the PSA’s audit of August 2020 covering ignition source control on Martin Linge.

Background

The Martin Linge field is being developed with Equinor as the operator.

When the audit was conducted, drilling activities had commenced on Martin Linge A from the Maersk Intrepid mobile facility. Martin Linge A might potentially be exposed to hydrocarbons, and critical parts of the control, monitoring and safety systems are operational.

Goal

The goal of the audit was to follow up how Equinor ensures that operational systems meet relevant regulatory requirements, recognised standards and guidelines, as well as the company’s own requirements and principles for such solutions.

Results

The audit identified nine breaches of the regulations as well as three conditions which the PSA has categorised as improvement points.

The nonconformities identified

  • overview of blocked safety functions
  • configuration of the alarm system in the control room
  • configuration of control systems and human-machine interface
  • handling of software onshore/offshore
  • follow-up of internal requirements for the safety control system
  • follow-up of improvements in the maintenance system
  • reliable gas detection
  • compensatory measures for safety-critical transmitters which are not locked for remote configuration
  • lamp test on the critical action panel (CAP) in local control room.

The improvement points identified

  • expertise requirements for working with industrial control systems
  • unclear assignment of responsibilities when updating redline and master drawings
  • inadequate descriptions in the maintenance programme.

Follow-up of earlier nonconformities

The PSA found that the following nonconformity from its audit of ignition source control on Martin Linge A had not been dealt with as specified in the company’s response(s) of 30 October 2020:

  • nonconformity with routines and systems for information transfer at shift changes.

This finding forms part of the basis for the order.

Order

Our audit has identified serious breaches of the regulations, and Equinor has therefore been given the following order.

Pursuant to section 69 of the framework regulations on administrative decisions, see sections 26 and 32 of the activities regulations on safety systems and on transfer of information at shift and crew changes respectively, and section 8 of the facilities regulations on safety functions, Equinor Energy AS is hereby ordered to:

  • implement the measures required to ensure that the necessary transfer of information on the status of safety systems at shift changes meets the requirements in section 32 of the activities regulations, see section 4.2 of the report
  • establish a status for blocked safety functions in the central control room’s user interface and ensure that the status of safety systems in the event that these are blocked and suppressed is known to relevant personnel at all times, see section 5.1.1 of the report.

What happens now?

The deadline for complying with the order is 15 January 2021. The PSA has requested that Equinor notifies it when the order has been complied with.

The report describes identified nonconformities in addition to those which form the basis for the order, and the PSA has requested that Equinor explains how these will be dealt with. The company has also been asked to give its assessment of the improvement points observed. The deadline for this has been set to 18 January 2021.

Equinor requires the consent of the PSA before it can take Martin Linge into use for petroleum operations. When considering the application for such consent, the PSA will follow up that Equinor has complied with the order and that the nonconformities in the report have been dealt with in accordance with the requirements in section 22 of the management regulations.