Kristin lifeboats taken out of operation

July 13, 2005, 18:00 CEST

Statoil has decided to temporarily remove the lifeboats on the Kristin platform from operation until they have been function-tested once again.

After faults were discovered during a system test of one of the skid boats on the Veslefrikk B platform in the North Sea, Statoil started work to verify whether that was an isolated fault on the one lifeboat, or a general construction fault on this type of lifeboat. All three lifeboats of this type on Veslefrikk B have been taken out of operation until further notice.

Kristin in the Norwegian Sea is the only other Statoil-operated field which has such skid-launched life boats.

"The uncertainty which has arisen following the incident on Veslefrikk has led us to follow the precautionary principle on Kristin also," says Tove Rørhuus, vice president for health, safety and the environment in Exploration & Production Norway.

Even though Kristin's lifeboats have been tested earlier from the platform, they will now be tested out on the field. Kristin will have a safety staffing of only 27 people on board the platform until the boats have been tested.

During the period with only safety staffing of the platform and with the lifeboats out of operation, compensatory safety measures will be taken in the form of strengthened helicopter readiness, strengthening of marine surveillance in the area and an extra stand-by vessel at the Kristin platform.

Through a review, Statoil has now documented that all other lifeboats have been tested in accordance with the requirements set by the authorities.

"This review shows that there is no reason to set other lifeboats temporarily out of operation," says Ms Rørhuus.

The decision to take the lifeboats on Kristin temporarily out of operation was taken in cooperation with the unions.

Work on Kristin is at present associated with preparations for production start-up which is planned for 1 October this year.

Some uncertainty remains as to when the test can be run on Kristin but it is expected that this can be done within the next 14 days.