Goliat remains shut down, Norway orders power outage prevention plan

Goliat is the world's northernmost offshore oil platform in production. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Goliat is the world’s northernmost offshore oil platform in production. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
ENI has been ordered to identify and implement necessary measures following the loss of power on the Barents Sea oil platform last Friday.

Late Friday night the brand new, €5-billion-worth platform lost power and 51 crew members had to be evacuated and brought to Hammerfest by helicopter. Not only did the platform lose power from its seabed cable to the mainland; the on-board backup generators didn’t kick in either.

“The power returned a few hours later, the evacuation was stopped, and the situation normalized,” ENI Norge, the platform operator, wrote in a short note.

But ENI Norge’s assurances that the “situation has normalized” have done little to reassure Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority.

In a Notification of Order sent on Monday, the safety authority writes:

“… we order ENI to identify and implement necessary measures following the incident of August 27, 2016, in order to achieve compliance with health, safety and environmental legislation.”

The authority asks ENI to present its plan by September 5th.

ENI is also ordered to present a binding schedule with deadlines for implementing corrective measures following the incident and a description of any compensatory measures to be deployed until the non-conformity has been rectified.

Second power outage

Production at the platform, located off the coast of Finnmark, is still halted. This was the second power loss on the platform since it started production in mid-March. In May, power was lost due to a computer mistake onshore.

Both, the labour union and environmental groups criticize safety on board the platform over the last few days. A Dagens Næringsliv article titled “A buffoon culture we have never before seen on the Norwegian continental shelf” quotes a union spokesperson saying many of the employees now are back on the platform although they were afraid and did not want to return.

The employees claim the situation on the platform us unsafe and the union has asked ENI to cease operations.

Eni Norge strongly rejects any claims of jeopardizing safety and says production is expected to restart soon.

“It will be a matter of days. As a safety precaution we won’t resume production until all the facts are gathered,” company spokesman Andreas Wulff told Reuters.

‘ENI does not have the ability and will’
Frederic Hauge with the Bellona Foundation. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)
Frederic Hauge with the Bellona Foundation. (Thomas Nilsen / The Independent Barents Observer)

Frederic Hauge with the environmental group Bellona says ENI does not have the ability and will to comply with the requirements set by Norwegian law.

“The most disturbing fact in this case is that Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority gave permission to start up production at a platform that was not ready. Workers feel unsafe, and there is a significant risk of a major accident. This is not how we want it on the Norwegian continental shelf,” Hauge said.

He calls for the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy to withdraw ENI’s operator license for Goliat and not to give the Italian company any new licenses on the Norwegian shelf.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Energy challenges in Canada’s North, Eye on the Arctic

China:  Chinese mega-deals in Yamal LNG, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Oil minister Lien invites bids for more Arctic blocks, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Big interest in new Arctic LNG: Novatek, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden:  Sweden to have 100 percent renewable energy by 2040, Radio Sweden

United States: Oil producers balk following new study calling Alaska’s LNG project uneconomic, Alaska News Dispatch

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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