Efforts to combat gas leakages have given results

January 11, 2006, 00:15 CET

The Norwegian oil industry has achieved its objective of halving gas leaks on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in 2005, compared to 2003. Today project leader Øyvin Halle ordinarily Platform Manager on the Hydro-operated Njord field received well-deserved praise from the Head of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, Magne Ognedal.

The oil industry’s combined efforts to avoid gas leakages have borne fruit. The project began in 2004, and all the operator companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf have since worked together, under Øyvin Halle’s leadership, to increase vigilance and strengthen knowledge and efforts in order to avoid the potentially dangerous leakages offshore.

Altogether in 2003 there were over 40 leakages exceeding 0.1kg/second. In 2005, the number of leakages of equivalent magnitude was reduced to less than 16.

In Hydro’s offshore activity, the number of leakages has been reduced from 13 in 2002 to five in 2005.

“The efforts to combat leakages have been directed at three main areas: the technical condition of the installations out at sea, behaviour, and management focus,” says project leader Øyvin Halle.

It has been of crucial importance that the companies’ management has put hydrocarbon leakages on the agenda, and has carried out working meetings with operational personnel on the offshore installations.

“The key points are contact, follow-up and persistent vigilance,” says Halle.

The Oil Industry Association project has resulted in a range of initiatives and a strategy for further leakage reduction. The initiatives include a common standard for reporting, a leakage database, the basis for an industrywide training standard, and competence building within valves, pipe flanges and fittings.

Halle emphasizes that the target – for both Hydro and the industry as a whole – is zero hydrocarbon leakages, and that the efforts must continue at full pace.

“Management must never be contented with positive developments and good results. The topic of hydrocarbon leakages must be high on the agenda at all times. As managers, we must all demand initiatives and results from our staff members, as part of our daily routines,” says the Platform Manager.