The overall picture painted for 2022 by the trends in risk level in the petroleum activity (RNNP) survey is once again the same as the year before, she notes. “This stagnation has prevailed for a long time, and it’s not good enough any more.”
Myhrvold accepts that the RNNP results are positive when viewed in isolation. “Viewed over time, however, we see that progress has ceased in important areas. It’s natural to ask the companies to explain this. Why has progress stagnated, and what can they do to achieve further improvement in the risk level?”
Reported hydrocarbon leaks and structural damage on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) rose in 2022, while well-control incidents declined. Overall, the number of incidents with a major accident potential remained at the level it has been for the past decade.
The total indicator for major accidents on the NCS is also low but, once again, has remained more or less unchanged over the past four years after steadily declining before.
Nevertheless, this indicator does show that the industry’s work on risk management is having an effect. But Myhrvold emphasises that historical results provide no guarantee that future incidents will be avoided.
Negative trend onshore
“In some areas, we see a negative trend,” she says. “There’s a worrying increase in near-misses with a major accident potential, primarily hydrocarbon leaks, at the onshore plants. We also see the number of personal injuries rising on land – quite the opposite of developments offshore.
“Big differences admittedly exist between the individual plants, but the overall picture shows that the trend is moving the wrong way. That is not acceptable, and calls for a purposeful commitment by the responsible companies.
“The industry can’t let safety work mark time, but must always seek improvement. So I’m calling for measures aimed at a further risk reduction, and hope to see the results of these in future RNNP results.”
She also emphasises that safety in the Norwegian petroleum sector must be viewed in a wider perspective.
“Work on safety has never been more important than now. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has made our country the main supplier of energy to Europe – which is demanding in many ways, including where safety is concerned.
“Norway makes an important contribution by keeping oil and gas output up through continued high regularity in the delivery chain. Nevertheless, production considerations mustn’t take precedence over safety. On the contrary, safe operation on the NCS and at the onshore plants is crucial for energy security in Europe.”
Selected results from the RNNP 2022 are presented below. Link to the RNNP 2022 summary report can be found at the end of this article.
NCS – major accident indicators
- Incidents with an inherent major accident potential have been stable since 2012.
- The level in 2012-22 was lower than for the previous 10-year period.
- 31 incidents with an inherent major accident potential in 2022, six fewer than the year before.
- Hydrocarbon leaks increased in 2022 compared with the year before, but well-control incidents were down.
NCS – total indicator for major accidents
The total indicator for major accidents provides a picture of the industry’s ability to manage factors which influence risk.
- The total indicator has been declining since 2006, with a flattening out over the past four years. The 2022 value was at the same level as the year before.
NCS – personal injuries
- The companies reported a total of 21 serious personal injuries on NCS petroleum facilities in 2022, down from 27 the year before.
- This is a positive trend, with 0.48 serious personal injuries per million hours worked in 2022 compared with 0.63 the year before.
Onshore plants – major accident indicators and personal injuries
- 23 incidents with a major accident potential reported from the eight onshore plants in the PSA’s area of responsibility.
- Fewer than 15 incidents with major accident potential were reported annually in 2009-19, but the number of such events has increased in subsequent years to 19 in 2021 and 23 in 2022.
- Of the 23 incidents reported in 2022, 20 were unignited hydrocarbon leaks and three were fires.
- Unignited hydrocarbon leaks reported in 2021 and 2022 were at their highest level for the past 10 years.
- Serious personal injuries per million hours worked rose from 1.26 in 2021 to 1.29 in 2022.
Barrier indicators – offshore and on land
Barrier indicators in the RNNP survey say something about robustness to withstand incidents. Barriers must function when they are needed, so barrier elements are tested and measured against specified standards. Typical elements tested are fire and gas detection, emergency shutdown systems, fire protection and fire water supplies and marine systems.
- The RNNP results for 2022 show that most barrier elements accord with the industry’s self-defined requirements. This level has been fairly stable in recent years,
- With regard to barrier elements related to insulation and energy-handling during incidents, the trend in recent years has moved in a weakly positive direction, but a number of elements still have a failure rate above the industry’s self-defined requirements.
- Barrier indicators continue to show big differences in level between facilities.
- Results for the barrier elements at onshore plants show a positive trend in recent years, but with big variations between these facilities. Some score below the industry’s own requirements.
Maintenance – offshore and on land
Maintenance data in the RNNP cover the basis for maintenance management (marking and classifying) and the status for maintenance performed, preventive maintenance (PM) planned but not executed, and outstanding corrective maintenance (CM).
- The permanently installed facilities have few hours of backlog for PM, but HSE-critical PM on a number of them has not been carried out in accordance with their own deadlines.
- Viewed overall, a substantial number of hours of CM on the permanently installed facilities had not been carried out at 31 December 2022, and the size of the backlog in 2022 was at roughly the same level as in 2020 and 2021. Some of the permanently installed facilities had a substantial number of hours of CM not carried out at 31 December 2022.
- Hours of PM and CM performed on the permanently installed facilities in 2022 were roughly the same as the year before, but hours for modifications and projects were down compared with recent years.
- Data for the onshore plants show few hours of backlog for PM, with one exception.
- Figures for the onshore plants also show that more PM and CM were carried out in 2022 than in earlier years, but that much CM had still been identified but not done.
- Data for mobile facilities show big variations in PM planned but not executed and outstanding CM. That corresponds with what the PSA has seen in recent years. A number of facilities have not carried out HSE-critical PM and CM in accordance with their own deadlines
Questionnaire survey – diving
The questionnaire survey of diving personnel was carried out for the third time. Everyone who participated in a diving operation on the NCS during 2022 was invited to answer questions on the HSE climate, the working environment and health. A total of 208 responses were received, and the results show that diving personnel by and large feel that diving conditions on the NCS are favourable.
- Where the HSE climate is concerned, some challenges exist related to conflicting goals and the climate for speaking up, but there are also many positive responses.
- With regard to working conditions, it can be noted that diving personnel find themselves physically exposed on a number of occasions and, to some extent, have low control over jobs. But they respond positively to questions about support from supervisors and colleagues.
- The most frequent health problems afflicting divers are pain in neck/shoulders/arms, exhaustion, joint pain and mental afflictions. A relatively high proportion of the workforce relate their health problems to working conditions.