This has resulted in a report which sums up facts related to work in the production licences on major accident risk and the working environment with the aim of identifying improvement and maintenance measures.

The report is intended for learning and improvement both in the industry and in government. It will also form part of the knowledge base for the forthcoming White Paper on the working environment and safety in the petroleum sector.

Production licences in all phases of petroleum activity, from exploration to removal, are covered by the study. The companies which have participated are considered to provide a representative sample of different types of licensees on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

The study finds that licensees make a positive contribution to maintaining a high level of health, safety and the environment (HSE) on the NCS. Several examples are provided where the contribution of licensees in a production licence has had a positive influence on the operator’s work with major accidents and the working environment. That applies particularly to the early phases before operation begins.

Many other examples also reveal a sharing of experience and issues related to major accidents and the working environment in and between production licences.

All production licences have established collaboration arenas with formal committee meetings, L2S, working seminars on major accidents, a partner forum, HSE and management inspections and partner audits.

The study paints a picture in which licensee influence on an operator’s work with major accidents and the working environment is primarily exercised through interaction in subcommittees and less formalised arenas, rather than by management committee votes. Significantly more attention is paid by licensees to major accidents than to the working environment.

The PSA expects licensees to assess the learning points and recommendations from the study as part of work in the production licences on major accident risk and the working environment.

Production licence

A permit which confers the sole right to conduct investigations, exploration drilling and production of petroleum deposits within the geographical scope of the licence. The licensees become owners of the petroleum produced. A licence can cover one or more blocks or part-blocks, and regulates the rights and duties of the companies in relation to the state.

Operator company (operator)

When awarding a production licence, the ministry appoints one of the licensees to serve as operator for the licence. The operator is responsible for day-to-day management of activities in the licence on behalf of the licensee group. (In certain cases, an operator who is not a licensee in the relevant licence can nevertheless be appointed as operator.)


A licensee is a company which is awarded an interest in a production licence pursuant to the Petroleum Act. Generally speaking, there are several licensees in a licence, but only one is appointed as the operator. All the licensees undertake to contribute actively to the licence, in part by seeing to it that the operator manages the activities well.