[NORWAY] StatoilHydro, Transocean "carded” over blow-outs

Norwegian safety regulators have given StatoilHydro and drilling contractor Transocean Offshore Ltd. a yellow card for failing to sufficiently plan for the ubiquitous danger of gas blow-outs in their exploration of the arctic Barents Sea.

Block 7123/4-1S exploration planning involving the advanced semi-submersible drill rig Polar Pioneer has not been “in line with the regulatory requirements for operations in the Barents Sea”, the Petroleum Safety Authority said in a statement.

"We're not a police department, and we're not here to judge. We're here to improve safety," a spokesman for the PSA told Scandoil.com

"It's not acceptable, and we hope the audit helps them solve the issues that were documented," he said, adding the results meant operator and contractor had alot of work to do to correct for safety.

They have until July 15 to describe how they'll improve blow-out precautionary measures. Scandoil.com efforts to reach the oil company for comment came to no avail.

Safety regulators said oil company and rig contractor failed to take “specific probability and consequence-reducing measures … despite the fact that all data on the Barents Sea dictate a need for particular care in this area, as is evident (in the area around the pristine Lofoten Islands).

Though worried about major accidents, the Authority said the oil company and its contractor had done much to reduce the risk of minor leaks into the sensitive, “zero-emissions” local ecosystem.

Source: Scandinavia Oil and Gas

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