Experience and studies show that good management in every phase of a development project contributes to an improved decision base, better technical deliveries, and thereby to safety and the working environment during operation. Similarly, inadequacies in project management can have an unintended negative impact on HSE.

Report no 12 (2017–2018) to the Storting on health, safety and the environment in the petroleum sector and the 2018 report from the Auditor General of Norway also identified these challenges, and this area received particular mention from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (AID) in the annex to the PSA’s letter of allocation in 2018.

During 2019-20, the PSA has therefore strengthened its own capacity and expertise as well as its follow-up of the industry, and developed an improved risk-based system for project follow-up in both planning and execution phases.

Changes to the operating parameters from the package of measures approved by the Storting (parliament) in 2020 mean that projects with a PDO submitted before the end of 2022 will enjoy more favourable tax terms. A number of these are therefore under evaluation with the aim of meeting this deadline. In addition to developments, the PSA follows up the management of large modification and removal projects.

Information and guidance

A study of the Goliat, Aasta Hansteen and Ivar Aasen developments was conducted for the PSA in 2018-19 by IKM Acona. This contained many good lessons for the oil companies, suppliers and government, and has been presented in seminars and industry fora.

Read more: Study of field development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf. 

A new study by IKM Acona in 2021 dealt with indicators which can be used to identify HSE challenges for safe start-up and operation. These indicators can be used by both government and the players themselves to identify areas of a project requiring extra follow-up or which stand out as demanding.

Read more: HSE challenges in development projects. 

The PSA has also collaborated with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) on experience transfer, information-sharing and planning of joint activities. A seminar for the industry on project management and PDOs was conducted in the first half of 2022 in cooperation with the NPD.


The goal of the PSA’s supervisory activities is to follow up project management in the company, and thereby to help ensure that the completed facility accords with the regulatory requirements when it becomes operational. Supervision is conducted in all phases of the project up to completion. Information obtained from pre-PDO supervision is also used to assess this plan. The PSA has drawn up overviews of projects being planned and executed, and prioritises its follow-up using various criteria – including the indicators presented in the project report from IKM Acona.

We conduct a number of project management audits every year in various disciplines. More than 20 were implemented during 2020 in the form of audits and meeting series. Through them, the PSA followed up recommendations and findings from studies of field development projects on the NCS the year before. This practice was continued in 2021, including audits of the Johan Castberg and Balder Future projects. The PSA also concluded the investigation into the completion of Johan Castberg’s hull and equipment which it launched in 2020.

Read more: Order to Equinor following investigation of the Johan Castberg project. 

Two of the 2021 audits related to pre-PDO projects. The PSA plans more such audits during 2022 in order to be prepared for the PDOs it expects to be submitted by the end of the year. In addition, the PSA participated with the NPD as an observer for key development consents, providing ongoing information on projects in progress and follow-up by the licensees. The latter also play an important role in making appropriate arrangements for the operator’s project management and in seeing to it that the operator fulfils its responsibilities.

The PSA follows this up in its supervision through various instruments, including audits, meetings and licence monitoring.

Read more: Requirements for operators and licensees. 


A new independent evaluation was begun in 2021 at the initiative of the AID, with support from the PSA for execution and follow-up. Part of the groundwork for the next report to the Storting, this study has investigated how licensees discharge their obligations and responsibilities for reducing major accident risk and improving the working environment in committee structures and in the production licence as a whole. Project follow-up represents a key part of the work in many licences.

The report from the study was completed in the first quarter of 2022. It has had its own reference group, with representatives from the PSA and the AID.


Through supervising individual projects, the PSA helps the players to become more aware of their own management and follow-up of the development. Its audits have also identified specific conditions which need correcting, but which the companies have not been conscious of themselves. A PSA investigation of specific circumstances in one project has contributed to greater awareness and learning far beyond the company investigated. Over time, the PSA has been committed to acquiring knowledge about and sharing experience of good project management. That has contributed to better project management in the individual companies.

This article is taken from the PSA’s annual report for 2021 to the Ministry of Labour and Social Inclusion. Access the whole report here (in Norwegian only, English summary).