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A JOURNAL FROM THE PETROLEUM SAFETY AUTHORITY NORWAY

Headed for new horizons

Photo of Anne Myhrvold Photo: Tommy Ellingsen
Knowledge and expertise from the petroleum sector are important for the energy transition and for building up renewables such as offshore wind power. The PSA has already acquired new areas of responsibility and is ambitious for more.

“We have unique understanding of and experience from regulating safety in the petroleum sector,” observes Anne Myhrvold, director general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). 

“Our expertise lies in supervising industrial energy activities – both offshore and at land-based plants. We’ll be taking this with us into new areas.” 

The oil sector is changing, with technology and skills from this industry being applied to such fields as CO2 management and offshore wind power. 

 “We’re seeing many companies in the petroleum sector undergo structural changes to become integrated energy businesses which also embrace renewables,” observes Myhrvold. 

This transformation means a natural enlargement in the PSA’s area of supervisory responsibility, she notes. 

 “We’ve already been put in charge of safety and the working environment for carbon transport and storage and for renewable energy at sea, where offshore wind power is the most relevant candidate today. 

 “Our responsibility is to define the parameters for pursing these activities in a prudent manner, and to follow up that this is being done.” 

“Our expertise lies in supervising industrial energy activities – both offshore and at land-based plants. “We’ll be taking this with us into new areas.”

Opened 

“We see changes starting to happen for offshore wind power,” Myhrvold reports. “The government has opened the Utsira North and Southern North Sea II areas for such activity.” 

With the industry pursuing this opportunity, it is important to put in place good and well-functioning regulations for safety and the working environment, she emphasises. These must be tailored to the risks related to this form of power generation. 

“We’re committed to helping create predictability for offshore wind power players. We have long experience of developing regulations both offshore and on land.” 

She adds that the PSA has broad expertise with risk conditions relevant to the new industries, and urges the sector to take a united approach to its restructuring.
 
“We’re working now in the Regulatory Forum to establish a common starting point for developing regulations on offshore renewable energy. 
“It’s important that all sides engage in that work, so that we end up with a good regime and appropriate regulations for this area as well.” 

Overall 

The energy White Paper presented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in June ranked as the first policy document of its kind to take an overall look at further development in this area. 

It outlined opportunities for long-term value creation from Norwegian energy resources. A key argument was that knowledge and expertise from the petroleum industry are important and must be applied in developing and building new energy activities. 

“The White Paper emphasises that Norway will make continued use of experience and relevant lessons from the oil and gas sector,” says Myhrvold. 
“Safety work also occupies a key place here. We have a role in the green shift. 

“Where we’re given responsibility, we’ll ensure well-functioning parameters as well as competent and clear supervision. That’ll contribute to good and prudent operation of both the transition and new industrial activity.” 
 

Emission targets 

The Paris agreement reached at the UN conference of the parties (COP) in 2015 commits all members of the world organisation to a common goal of reducing emissions to keep global warming below 2°C – and preferably under 1.5°C. 

According to this deal, each country must report new or updated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets every fifth year. Norway’s increased goal is to cut the GHGs it releases by at least 50 per cent and up to 55 per cent in 2030 compared with the 1990 level.