These duties apply to all operators and licensees, regardless of their size.
Requirements for operators
The operator is the company responsible for day-to-day management of activities in a production licence on behalf of the licensees. It has an overall responsibility for ensuring that operations are conducted in a prudent manner and in accordance with applicable Norwegian regulations.
Section 12 of the framework regulations on organisation and competence specifies:
“The operator shall have an organisation in Norway that, on an independent basis, is capable of ensuring that petroleum activities are carried out in accordance with the regulations.”
The regulations give operators great freedom to organise their own operations – by using external resources to pursue activities, for example.
However, a company is not qualified to fulfil its duties pursuant to the health, safety and environmental (HSE) regulations unless it has its own personnel with competence in this area.
This means that the operator must have in-house expertise which allows it to undertake such activities as:
- Qualifying contractors who carry out work of significance for HSE
- Defining assignments for these contractors
- Determining the quality of the products and services delivered by the contractors
- Taking decisions required to ensure that overall operations are conducted in a prudent manner
- Defining whether and in which areas verification activities (follow-up) are required in its own organisation and at contractors
- Determining the verification basis for its overall petroleum activities
- Undertaking a coordinated assessment of the results of the verifications carried out
- Leading and coordinating the commitment of emergency response resources should hazards arise or accidents occur
Relationship between operators and external contractors
An operator can delegate certain assignments to external contractors. A basic requirement is nevertheless that the operator must be organised in a way which does not reduce its ability to fulfil its responsibilities pursuant to the regulations.
It should also be noted that:
- The operator itself must take decisions at a strategic level – for third-line emergency response and for communicating such circumstances to the media, for example.
- When dealing with a number of considerations at a strategic level, the authorities will need dialogue with and opportunities for direct and speedy clarification at a responsible level from the operator
- Requirements for supervising contractors also apply to following up consultants and other types of suppliers
- The operator must keep the regulatory authorities informed about developments in its operations, and which measures it plans to implement
“See to it” duty (påseplikt)
The operator has a particular duty to see to it that everyone doing work on its behalf complies with the requirements specified in the HSE regulations and carries out its activities in a prudent manner. This “see to it” duty comes in addition to each player’s responsibility to comply with the regulations, and is a general and overriding supervisory obligation.
The operator’s management system must make it clear how the “see to it” duty is being discharged.
Pursuant to this duty, the operator must check that its contractual partners are competent and qualified before and during the award of the contract and while the work is being done.
Furthermore, the operator must monitor its contractual partners and check that the facilities and equipment being used and the work being done meet an acceptable standard.
Requirements for licensees
The licensee must follow up activities in the production licence. This involves seeing to it that:
- The operator has a functioning management system
- The operator has an adequately qualified organisation with sufficient capacity
- The operator deals with problem areas and other conditions attracting the attention of the authorities
- Key applications are submitted to the authorities
In addition, the licensee has:
- A duty to take action if it discovers that conditions fail to comply with the regulations
- An independent duty to secure adequate information
The licensee must take a risk-based approach to discharging this “see to it” duty. Depending on the specific case, that means it may have a duty to audit the operator.
The licensee must supervise the operator in a systematic manner and have a management system which shows how the “see to it” duty is being discharged.