Summary based on company reports, 4 June 2020
At 4 June, no fixed facility on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) had shut down production as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. Where drilling and work on mobile units are concerned, activities are continuing on the whole as planned.
The companies are still restricting activities which are not necessary for ensuring prudent operation and production. Growing normalisation is a clear trend, but is taking place in a controlled and staged manner.
Maintenance of safety-critical equipment is being followed up as normal. The availability of foreign expertise is not being flagged up by the companies with the same level of criticality as earlier.
To a great extent, the companies have developed systems and adapted operational practice for long-term handling of the coronavirus position.
Planned shutdowns for upgrading and maintenance have been postponed. Some are being implemented with a reduced scope or by executing restricted “safety turnarounds”.
The safety consequences of postponing turnarounds and the persistent reduction in maintenance activities remain a relevant issue, but the companies have secured a better overview and an improved basis for taking decisions on measures.
Crew changes are now taking place on the whole in accordance with the normal pattern, with only a few cases of offshore periods exceeding 21 days being reported.
The companies have made various changes with regard to carrying out emergency response training and drills. These are now adapted to necessary infection prevention measures.
Employees on facilities and at plants are experiencing more normal workloads, even though some cases with a high pressure of work can occur. Welfare measures – gyms, cinemas, bingo and so forth – are now being cautiously and gradually made available. This is seen as important by employees.
Less concern can be detected from safety delegates and union officials over the direct handling of the coronavirus position. Attention has largely shifted to more long-term consequences of possible persistently low oil prices, such as downsizing and job losses.
Strict measures by the companies to reduce the spread of infection are continuing to receive great attention, and the industry is actively following up the guidelines which have been developed. The Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority has produced an assessment of opportunities for the companies to impose compulsory testing of personnel for Covid-19 before the fly out to a facility. .
Based on reporting from the companies in the petroleum sector and its own supervisory activities, the PSA’s main impression is that the level of safety is being maintained in the industry.
The overall picture is that the companies have sufficient manning and expertise for safe operation in the time to come. A number of organisational measures have been implemented to ensure continuity and increase robustness.
The position is now considered stable, with growing normalisation. Safety delegates and union officials are involved in the assessments and decisions being taken to deal with the position.
The PSA is continuously monitoring both industry-wide challenges and specific issues on facilities and at plants.
It has been conducting audits since 12 March 2020 without making physical visits to facilities or plants.
Normal supervisory activities by the PSA will resume from 15 June, within the framework of recommended measures to prevent infection. All or part of its supervisory activities will continue to be conducted as video meetings.