Petroleum-related activities in Norway have experienced a number of structural alterations and efficiency enhancement processes in recent years.
The most important of these developments include changes related to operational and production models, contract forms, compensation formats and incentive schemes, and the division of labour between operators and suppliers.
Among other key issues are manning levels, employment terms, and new work processes and methods supported by technological advances.
The PSA has followed up operating parameters in the Norwegian petroleum sector over many years, including through its earlier main priorities of groups particularly exposed to risk as well as through various projects and supervisory activities.
This subject also occupied a key place in the PSA’s main issues for 2021 – side by side with the suppliers – and 2022 – capacity and competence – the key to safety.
A major research project and study has been now completed for the PSA in order to strengthen its knowledge about the way the recent changes affect safety and the working environment.
The aim has been to investigate the consequences of parameter changes for suppliers in the petroleum industry with regard to employment terms, employee participation, the working environment and safety.
Areas covered by the study include drilling, well service, maintenance and modifications (M&M), and the insulation, scaffolding and surface treatment (ISS) trades.
The research project has provided the PSA with important information, shedding light on key development features in the industry and their consequences for safety and the working environment.
Results from the project accord with observations and findings from the PSA’s supervisory work and with information it has received from other sources, including expressions of concern by employees in the industry.
The report illustrates how changes to parameters have a negative effect on the level of HSE, including through greater pressure on capacity and competence. It also reveals that suppliers find market power being applied in ways which have negative consequences for safety and the working environment.
The PSA takes a serious view of these results, and will continue to pursue them both in professional contexts and in its supervision of the industry.
It will now be following up the findings in the report through the Safety Forum as well as with the individual companies.
Responsibility for the industry’s operations rests with the companies. They must ensure that the changes made do not adversely affect HSE, and the PSA expects them to include possible new information in their assessments.
The research assignment has been conducted for the PSA by Safetec Nordic in collaboration with researchers from the technology management department at Sintef, the department for industrial economics and technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), NTNU Samfunnsforsking AS and Oslo Economics.