Report blasts Norway’s oil regulator for poor safety on Norwegian shelf

Eni’s Goliat platform, in the Barents Sea. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority gets serious criticism for its followup of security in Norwegian waters.

A new report (in Norwegian) from the Office of the Auditor General concludes that there is insufficient followup of security regulations on the Norwegian shelf. Oil companies have in many cases been allowed to operate in breach with laws and regulations and the trust-based system currently in place has proved itself not reliable, the review reads.

The criticism is directed against the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority, the government regulator with responsibility for safety, emergency and preparedness in the country’s petroleum industry.

The controls and inspections conducted by the Petroleum Safety Authority have in many cases had limited effects on the companies’ commitment to health, environment and safety, the report says, and adds that the breaches “challenge the current trust-based model.”

The report especially highlights the case when the Safety Authority allowed company Eni to proceed with operations in its Goliat project even though the oil platform was declared not safe.

After Eni installed the platform in the Barents Sea in 2015, a total of 57 security cases were reported, 34 of them after production started in March 2016. Ten of the cases were gas leaks and the production has been halted for as many as seven times.

A “dramatic report”, says Bellona

Environmental organisation Bellona says the report illustrates a serious crisis in the Norwegian petroleum management system.

“This is perhaps the most dramatic report ever about the level of security in the Norwegian oil industry,” Bellona leader Frederic Hauge says in a statement.

“The Petroleum Safety Authority’s behaviour has contributed to enhanced risks of big accidents,” he underlines.

The report is written by the Office of the Auditor General of Norway, a body that monitors the country’s public sector on behalf of the Norwegian parliament (the Storting).

Note: On its website, the Office of the Auditor General of Norway says an English-language version of the report should be published some time in January.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Oil production returns after two-year pause in Norman Wells, northern Canada, CBC News

Finland: Arctic Council experts gather in Helsinki for black carbon meeting, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Fifty years after striking oil, Norway presses on with offshore drilling, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia presents massive five-year plan to boost Arctic energy sector, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Growing climate protest movement is “saying no to human extinction”, Radio Sweden

United States: Protestors target Texas company planning seismic survey in Alaska’s Arctic refuge, Alaska Public Media

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

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

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