Anne Myhrvold, director general of the PSA, has urged the industry to utilise the RNNP data together with the information held by the companies themselves in order to achieve good measures and barriers.

Incidents involving oil discharges

The RNNP AU report shows that the trend for the number of incidents with acute crude oil discharges has flatlined since 2013. Such events in 2021 were at their highest level since 2011. The same applies to the number of near-misses for serious incidents which could have caused acute pollution. Incidents involving hydrocarbon leaks from subsea installations ranged from zero and six in 2006-21.

No relationship is seen by the PSA between the number of these incidents and their level of seriousness. The quantity discharged has been stable and low over the past decade, apart from years when individual events involved a big discharge.

The major accident index for acute oil discharges has not shown the same positive trend as for personnel. Nor does the PSA see the near-misses becoming less serious in the sense that they might have put smaller oil quantities into the sea. Comparing results from the various RNNP reports creates a more nuanced picture and identifies weaknesses in accident prevention measures.

Barents Sea 

Activity in Barents Sea was high in 2013-21 compared with earlier years. Data from the RNNP AU is too limited to be able to say anything about trends over time in this part of the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) compared with other areas. However, they give no grounds for assuming that the position in the Barents Sea differs from the rest of the NCS.

Incidents involving chemical discharges

Virtually all acute discharges from petroleum operations involve chemicals. The trend for the number of such incidents is not positive either.

The annual amount of chemicals discharged varies throughout the period, but particularly in the second half when individual incidents involving large quantities occurred.

Learning from all types of incidents is important in order to pick up faults, weaknesses and failures in the system put in place by a player to meet its obligations. The RNNP AU report lays the basis for learning from all kinds of events, including those involving or having the potential for acute discharges. This type of occurrence can also provide information about failures in measures adopted to avoid faults, hazards and incidents – including major accidents.

”Use the RNNP AU data along with results from other parts of the RNNP and the companies’ own information to achieve good measures and barriers,” urges Anne Myhrvold. She also emphasises the importance of understanding the causes of incidents.