“This year’s report identifies several areas which need greater attention,” says Anne Myhrvold, director general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). “We’re not seeing the progress we expect.”


The great majority of acute discharges in the petroleum sector involve chemical spills, and the trend in recent years has been for their number to increase further.

Oil spills

While the number of acute crude-oil spills has flattened out since 2013, the level of such incidents for the past two years was higher than in 2019-20.

The level of near misses which might have led to serious incidents involving acute oil pollution has been stable in recent years, without signs of a positive trend.

Incidents with hydrocarbon leaks from subsea installations varied between zero and six in 2006-22. 

Annual quantities discharged have been stable over the past decade, apart from years when individual incidents involving large spills were experienced.

The major-accident indicator for acute oil spills has remained at a stable level with annual fluctuations. So the clear positive trend observed for personnel injury indicators in 2007-15 is not repeated for acute discharges.

A flattening-out has also been seen in the major-accident indicator for personnel since 2016.

Nor have near misses for acute discharges become less serious in the sense that the quantity of oil they might have spilt to the sea has got smaller.

Comparing results from the various RNNP reports provides a more nuanced view, and can identify areas for improvement related to accident-prevention measures.

Use the reports

Myhrvold expects the companies to make use of the RNNP reports in their efforts to achieve continuous improvement.

“They provide information on developments with incidents across companies,” she notes. “That allows players to compare themselves with others, ask themselves new safety-related questions and exploit the learning potential of their own incidents.”