The PSA presented its status report for safety in 2020 on Tuesday 12 January, together with its expectations for and signals to the industry in the coming year. 

Increase worrying

Myhrvold summed up a year which became very different for the whole petroleum sector. The PSA sounded the alarm in October over a doubling in the number of serious incidents during 2020, when it launched no less than 13 investigations.  

“Although the causes of this increase are uncertain, we had to express our concerns to the companies,” Myhrvold observes. “It’s their job to understand both the changes which have been made and the risk, and not least to implement measures which alter this trend.”

Maintenance backlog

She also pointed to planned maintenance which has not been executed as a result of the coronavirus epidemic, and expressed concern that the backlog is building up. 

“The pandemic has lasted a while and is continuing. The companies must avoid a maintenance shortfall developing over time to become a safety risk.”


Myhrvold emphasised that the companies must both handle the pandemic and work to improve safety and the working environment. She also stressed that they are solely responsible for taking care of the latter aspects, and that this calls for a commitment.

“It’s the companies who own the operations and the risk, and who are responsible for improving safety,” she said. “That applies every single day – even during a pandemic.

“You must first and foremost know where your own shoe is pinching, ensure that you’re doing good work internally, ensure good internal audits and – not least – close the nonconformities which you or the authorities identify.”


The PSA held meetings during the autumn with the top management in several of the operator companies in order to hear directly from them how they are handling the position.

“My impression is that the top executives see the challenge and are concerned about it, including in companies which have not had the same trend for the number of serious incidents,” Myhrvold said.

Some companies report that responding to the pandemic has increased the attention paid to safety and the working environment because infection control, as safety work, is about prevention.

Other senior executives are aware of the negative trend, and see that work on safety must be given a clearer priority in their company.

“It’s been important for us to emphasise the responsibility of management, and we’ll be continuing a meeting series of this kind with top executives during 2021,” Myhrvold explained.

Main issue 2021

Myhrvold also presented the PSA’s main issue for 2021, which is side by side with the suppliers. 

“Big changes have occurred in the sector, costs are under pressure and, not least,  operating parameters have altered,” she observed.

She emphasised that, while suppliers have an independent responsibility for safety, the parameters are set by the operator companies. The latter must therefore ensure that these provide good safety conditions.

“Collaboration is therefore central, and both challenges and opportunities lie at the interface between operator and supplier,” Myhrvold said.

Video from "Safety - status and signals 2020 -2021" (in Norwegian only)