The NSOAF was founded in 1989 with the aim of ensuring continuous improvement in health, safety and the environment for petroleum activities in these waters.

In addition to the PSA, the forum comprises government bodies from the following nations:

The members of the NSOAF meet for an annual plenary meeting in which activities are summed up and new tasks initiated and discussed.

This work primarily takes place through three permanent working groups and a network group.

Health, safety and environmental working group (NSOAF-HS&E)

The group’s work includes contributing to

  • continuous improvement in safety and the working environment
  • harmonisation of regulatory requirements/reduction in administrative burdens
  • transfer of experience between regulators.

It otherwise pursues subjects where the regulators have common interests.

In recent years, the working group has pursued shared challenges facing the oil and gas industry in their respective countries. Challenges posed by safe operation and maintenance of older installations were the topic in 2017 and 2018. Over the next couple of years, particular attention will be paid to maintenance for safe operation of mobile facilities.

This will be the basis for an audit series in 2020 on the subject of maintenance for safe operation, with a common basis and questions tailored to each country’s regulations and language. The work will thereafter be pursued as part of the ordinary audit programme.

A joint report will describe the audit series and summarise findings and lessons learnt. Findings from the audits will be presented in a report which discusses good or poor practice in order to indicate improvement points and possible experience transfer.

The 2018 report on maintenance for safe operation (for older production facilities) is available as an attachment below.

Working group on drilling and well control (NSOAF-WWG)

The group exchanges information and cooperates on safety and working environment aspects relating to drilling and well operations, well integrity and blowout prevention.

Its activities are also intended to contribute to continuous improvement of safety and the working environment during drilling operations, well workovers and other well-related activities. In addition, it works to reduce administrative burdens for companies which operate on several continental shelves in the North Sea area.

Network for safety training (NSOAF-TG)

This network follows up efforts to achieve mutual acceptance for the safety training requirements applied in the North Sea countries.

Agreement has been reached among the countries on which elements of the training programmes are mutually acceptable, and which elements have different requirements. Results from the network’s activities form a basis for further simplification of training requirements and arrangements to secure mutual acceptance of training modules in the various countries.

Working group on regulations

Information and experience on relevant EU work are shared between the North Sea countries through this group. This applies to planned, proposed and implemented operating parameters and to the incorporation of EU/EEA regulations in the respective countries.

The group also exchanges information about the harmonised EU/EEA regulations in order to contribute to shared understanding and implementation of the regulations between the countries.