“We have unique knowledge of and experience from regulating safety in the petroleum sector,” says PSA director general Anne Myhrvold. “Our expertise is supervising industrial energy activities, both offshore and at land plants. We’re extending this into new areas.”
The oil sector is restructuring. Technology and expertise from petroleum operations are now being adopted in such new areas as CO2 handling, hydrogen production and wind power generation at sea.
“We see that many of the companies in the petroleum industry are now making structural changes in the direction of becoming integrated energy companies which are also involved with renewables,” Myhrvold observes.
Where the PSA is concerned, this trend means a natural expansion in the scope of its responsibilities.
“It’s natural that we, as a government agency, take responsibility when the petroleum sector restructures and when new industrial activities related to the oil business are established,” says Myhrvold.
PSA director general Anne Myhrvold on the energy transition and new areas of responsibility at the Top Executive Conference (TEC) 2021: We must stand together (in Norwegian only).
“Our remit has already been extended to cover safety and the working environment for CO2 transport and storage and renewable energy production offshore, where wind power is the most relevant option at present. We’re responsible for establishing parameters governing prudent conduct of this activity and for following these up.”
Offshore wind power
“Where offshore wind power is concerned, we see the changes are starting to happen,” Myhrvold notes. “The government has opened the Utsira North and Southern North Sea II areas for such developments, and the industry is working on it.
“It’s now important that we put in place good and well-functioning regulations governing safety and the working environment. These must be tailored to risk conditions in the industry and help to create predictability for its participants.”
She points out that the PSA has long experience of regulatory development – both offshore and onshore – and broad expertise with risks relevant to the new industries, and urges the industry to stand together in the restructuring work.
“Collaboration is central for both existing oil and gas operations – to take care of safety to the last drop – and for new industrial activities.
“We’re now working in the Regulatory Forum to establish a common starting point for developing regulations to cover offshore renewable energy, and it’s important that everyone involved engages in this work to help ensure that we also end up with a good regime and regulations in this area.”
The PSA currently has supervisory responsibility for the Mongstad and Tjeldbergodden plants, and thereby for a large proportion of Norway’s hydrogen output. New projects involving this gas are now on the drawing board, both offshore and on land.
“We’re monitoring plans now under discussion on possible hydrogen production using offshore wind power as well as new output on land,” says Myhrvold. “Then we’ll have to see what emerges in the future.”
A number of PSA specialists are now working on CO2 transport and storage, hydrogen production and offshore wind power. Elin S Witsø addressed the authority’s responsibilities and ambitions at TEC 2021: We are no longer only a petroleum regulator (in Norwegian only).
Energy White Paper
The energy White Paper presented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (MPE) in June 2021 is the first report of its kind to the Storting (parliament) to address the energy sector as a whole – and to take an integrated look at its future development.
It outlines opportunities for long-term value creation from Norwegian energy resources.
A key point in the White Paper is that knowledge and expertise from the petroleum sector are important and must be utilised in efforts to continue developing and building up new energy activities. Read the full document (in Norwegian only).
“The energy White Paper emphasise that we will be taking with us experience and relevant lessons from the oil and gas industry,” notes Myhrvold.
“Safety work also occupies a key place here. We at the PSA have a role in the green transition. In the areas assigned to us, we will ensure well-functioning parameters and a competent and clear supervision. We’ll thereby help to ensure that the energy transition and new industrial activities are conducted in a prudent manner.”