Heimdal investigation report submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway

October 24, 2012, 13:27 CEST

The Heimdal platform in The North Sea. (Photo: Øyvind Hagen)

The gas leak occurred in connection with a routine operation where a valve was overloaded and gas leaked into the surrounding area. The investigation concludes that this was a serious gas leak.

Under the relevant conditions however it is considered that there was no threat to the platform’s main safety functions or integrity. Both the emergency response and the automatic safety systems worked as intended. No one was physically harmed in the incident.


Jannicke Nilsson, Statoil’s head of operations North Sea west.

(Photo: Helge Hansen)

“Statoil is working systematically to avoid incidents and our HSE results show that we have improved in this area,” says Jannicke Nilsson, Statoil’s head of operations North Sea west. “The Heimdal incident is still a strong reminder of the need for continuous learning and improvement in our operations.”

The cause of the incident is a complex chain of events such as errors in the original design, insufficient planning and failure to communicate. The total volume of gas emitted during the around four minutes of the leak has been calculated at 3500 kilos.

Statoil implemented four immediate measures after the incident. These measures involve improvement of the technical design and updating of system drawings as well as improvements directed at the way we plan, assess risk and perform our activities. Following the gas leak on Gullfaks B in December 2010 a thorough investigation was carried out and a comprehensive improvement effort was launched in cooperation with employee representatives.

“We believe that this improvement work has had a positive effect,” says Nilsson. “However, the Heimdal incident has revealed that we need to strengthen this work further. We will continue pursuing our effort within these improvement areas in addition to the measures identified after the Heimdal incident.”

The investigation report was submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, which is also investigating the incident.


  • Heimdal is a gas field located in 120 metres of water depth in block 25/4.
  • Heimdal is a hub for gas processing and distribution, and consists of an integrated steel platform and a riser platform.
  • The main platform is an integrated drilling, production and accommodation installation with a steel jacket.