IKM Acona has carried out a study for the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) on which indicators can be used to identify health, safety and environmental (HSE) challenges in order to ensure safe start-up and operation for oil and gas development projects.

Favourable tax terms offered to new projects if a plan for development and operation (PDO) is submitted during 2022 mean that a large number of these are currently under assessment. That means increased demand, time constraints and market pressure.

The study has investigated whether indicators are available which could identify HSE challenges of potential significance for safe start-up and operation as early as the planning phase leading up to a PDO.

The study is available in Norwegian only.


A number of different indicators presented in the study can help to characterise development projects. They have been chosen in order to identify areas in a project which call for extra follow-up or which appear to pose challenges.

The indicators can be used both for individual projects and to reveal differences and connections in a portfolio of projects.

They cover different areas and collectively provide an overview of the project from a number of angles:

  • HSE
  • project complexity
  • maturity at decision gates
  • competence
  • realism in goals and ambitions
  • involvement of stakeholders
  • management system
  • system for follow-up
  • frame conditions.

HSE in the planning phase

The standard of HSE in execution and operation is closely related to the quality of planning. In earlier reports, IKM Acona has shown that a strong link exists between the maturity of the decision basis and HSE performance and quality for a project.

Study of field developments on the NCS

IKM Acona carried out a study in 2018-19 of the Goliat, Aasta Hansteen and Ivar Aasen development projects on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS). This provided many good lessons for the oil companies, suppliers and the government.

Read more: Field projects off Norway studied

Target groups

The study will be useful for licensees, operators, government agencies and other stakeholders in development projects. The indicators it has identified are not intended to represent a full project review, but will make a useful contribution to such assessments.

Development phase

Although this study focuses attention on HSE challenges in the planning phase up to a PDO, individual indicators may also be relevant in the project execution phase. The PSA is now starting work on a separate study covering this area, which will be carried out in 2022.