Mongstad fire fine accepted

July 27, 2005, 16:15 CEST

Statoil has resolved to accept a penalty of NOK 1.5 million imposed by the chief of police for Hordaland county following a fire at the group’s Mongstad refinery on 12 July 2004.

“This is because the grounds for this fine accord with the findings of our own internal inquiry into the incident,” says Bjørn Kåre Viken, vice president for Mongstad.

Three reasons are cited by the police – general shortcomings in internal control, inadequate work instructions for the specific job to be done, and lack of communication between shifts.

“It’s very important to draw lessons from what’s happened,” says Mr Viken. “All enforcement notices from the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) have been executed on schedule.

“We’ve also initiated and implemented a number of other actions to reduce risks associated with operations at the plant. Work on some of them will continue during the autumn.”

These measures include a systematic review of work processes and the preparation of improved working routines.

In addition, experience gained from this incident has been applied to enhancing the quality of work performance.

The direct cause of the fire was an escape of hot oil into a steam hose during preparations for replacing a valve.

Nobody was seriously hurt by the incident, but two operatives suffered minor injuries.

The crude oil refinery was out of operation for about 14 days as a result of the fire, with the loss of production and damage costed at some NOK 100 million.