Gullfaks incident entails drill routine changes

November 5, 2010, 14:05 CET
“The incident that occurred in well C-06 on the Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea was serious and involved considerable risk potential. It is imperative we learn from this,” says Øystein Michelsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway.


The Gullfaks C platform in the North Sea. (Photo: Marit Hommedal)

The situation that arose in well C06 was demanding.

“We spent two months restoring barrier no. 2 in the well to ensure we didn’t aggravate the situation. We carried out an internal investigation in order to learn from the incident. This process was extensive and we spent the time that was necessary to ensure the report’s quality,” adds Michelsen.

The incident did not result in any injuries or environmental damage. “I am satisfied that the  well normalisation process was conducted in a safe, controlled and technically sound manner.”

The direct cause of the incident was a leakage in a well casing. The leakage meant a reduction in the number of barriers in the well and production was therefore closed down to reduce risk on the platform.


Øystein Michelsen, executive vice president for Exploration & Production Norway. (Photo: Helge Hansen)

The investigation points to deficiencies in connection with risk management and compliance with internal requirements for drill operation planning and execution.

As a result of the well C-06 incident Statoil is amending its routines for drilling operations on Gullfaks.

“We will follow up on the investigation team’s conclusions and recommendations, doing our utmost to learn from and share the experience we have gained from this incident. In this way we can help further reduce the risk posed by our drilling operations.”

The investigation report identifies 18 measures and proposes an action plan designed to promote the quality of Statoil’s drilling operations. The most important measures following the incident are linked to:

  • Risk analyses and acceptance criteria when complexity increases.
  • Supporting documentation, quality assurance and formalism in planning and decision-making.
  • Involving technical expertise.