- The audit was carried out from 18 March to 5 July 2022.
- Two orders were issued by the PSA to Equinor on 18 July 2022.
The goal of the audit was to follow up that Equinor’s management of maintenance in FLX accords with the requirements set by the regulations and the company itself. Furthermore, it aimed to verify that work on improving maintenance management ensures the identification and follow-up of important contributors to HSE risk and uncertainty.
The audit has identified major weaknesses in the decision basis for prioritising and improving the technical condition of facilities, as well as differences in assessing this between the onshore organisation and personnel on board, particularly in the case of Statfjord A.
During the audit, a meeting at the PSA on 5 July 2022 was presented with reviews from FLX on the level of safety and projects to improve robustness on Statfjord A. This presentation, combined with descriptions of processes and conditions on board, strengthened the PSA’s impression that FLX’s onshore organisation had failed to root its assessments and priorities in necessary knowledge about technical and organisational conditions on the facility.
Equinor has organised the operation of facilities in the late-life phase in a separate organisation. This FLX unit became operational on 1 April 2020. Its responsibilities include operating the Statfjord field.
The audit showed that the FLX organisation knew about many of the barrier impairments and other degradation referred to in the PSA’s audit report. This applies to that part of the organisation which was audited, from the technical level up to management decision-makers.
Several of the findings in the audit were also identified and discussed in the company’s own report after a self-assessment by management and employees in the autumn of 2021 and the spring of 2022.
Maintenance staffing on the Statfjord facilities was reduced in September 2020 as part of the introduction of a new “project maintenance” model in FLX s. The PSA was also told that semi-annual reviews are conducted to assess opportunities for further manning reductions on the facilities.
In the audit, representatives for FLX’s management maintained that the technical condition of the Statfjord facilities was relatively stable, with improvements in some areas and worsening in others. It was also said that maintenance indicators were showing an improvement so far in 2022 compared with the year before.
Concern was expressed during the audit that manning had been reduced on the facilities without a corresponding reduction in workload. A substantial proportion of maintenance work had been postponed.
Reduced facility-specific expertise in the onshore support organisation was also identified as a possible contribution to increased risk on the facilities. Personnel on Statfjord A were worried that this could lead to accidents. A perceived absence of the start-up and execution of life extension projects, which management had described as a precondition for manning cuts, was also reported.
Personnel out on the facilities found that the level of corrective maintenance was about the same as before FLX was created, including a large portfolio of such work left undone in various disciplines.
Concerns were also expressed in the audit that risk assessments and action on a large number of reported improvement requirements had not been implemented.
Interviewees told the PSA that the actual technical and organisational conditions on Statfjord A meant extensive use of compensatory measures, the need for additional resources, changed priorities and cancellation of activities. This was confirmed in the 5 July meeting at the PSA.
Following verifications on Statfjord A, the PSA’s assessment is that the facility has not been adequately maintained in recent years. Few measures to improve robustness were implemented after the decision was taken to extend Statfjord A’s producing life beyond 2022 .
During verification of the SAP maintenance system on the facility, the PSA took the concerns expressed by the safety delegate service and personnel on board as its starting point.
All observations in the audit are based on sampling and thereby do not provide a full picture.
The audit identified six nonconformities. These are:
- decision basis and information
- knowledge about and handling of impairments to barriers and barrier elements
- manning and competence
- handling of nonconformities.
What happens now
Equinor has been requested to explain by 28 October 2022 how the nonconformities will be dealt with.
The PSA has also asked Equinor to meet it and explain how possible technical, operational and organisational impairments have been handled before the start-up of Statfjord A following the turnaround in the autumn of 2022. The company has been asked to send representatives to this meeting from the management, specialist personnel and the safety delegate service in Statfjord A’s offshore and onshore organisation.