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Updated: PSA: 'Serious deficiencies' found at Martin Linge

Written by  Thursday, 27 April 2017 09:48

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) reported today (27 April) that it has found serious deficiencies at the Total-operated Martin Linge project, which is 42km west of Oseberg, Norway. The project is due onstream in 2018.

Map of Martin Linge, from Total.

The audit, conducted in late-March, focused on technical safety, electrical equipment, maintenance management, and Total’s own follow-up of technical barriers during the commissioning phase at the Samsung Heavy Industries yard in South Korea where the production facility is under construction.

“During the audit, serious deficiencies emerged through presentations, conversations, interviews and verifications relating to such areas as preservation, electrical facilities and barrier management,” says the PSA. “These were a result of inadequate compliance with requirements in the regulations as well as with the project’s own requirements and procedures. The PSA’s observations show inadequate follow-up in the project.”

Total E&P Norge told OE that the company takes the orders from the PSA seriously. 

"Total E&P Norge takes the notice of order from the PSA seriously. We will give feedback to the authority about our corrective actions on the audit findings within the deadline 29 May," said Leif Harald Halvorsen, Total E&P Norge communications manager in a statement to OE.

The PSA identified nonconformities on management of health, safety and the environment; follow-up; electrical installations; regulations on installation and commissioning, procedures, and maintenance program.

The safety authority also found inadequate preservation of equipment and systems, both indoors and outdoors, which were exposed to large quantities of dust, water, particles, impurities from ongoing construction and commissioning activities.

The PSA "Notice of Order" to Total noted the following:

  • a number of open electrical/instrumentation termination cabinets, distribution.
    switchboards and valves without adequate preservation.
  • lack of overpressure in rooms containing dust-sensitive equipment.
  • inadequacies with status, inspection and monitoring of preservation.
  • inadequacies with and damage to the actual preservation.

“The consequences of inadequate preservation during the completion phase will be resource-intensive and time-consuming cleaning and, in the worst case, the need to replace weakened or damaged equipment and components,” says the PSA. “Furthermore, it could mean big challenges in planning and implementing commissioning and start-up work offshore.”

Faults and deficiencies were also identified in the professional execution of electrical installations. In the PSA's letter to Total, it noted the following:

  • inadequate segregation between high voltage, low voltage and instrument cable installations.
  • inadequate mechanical protection of cable installations.
  • damage to the outer jacket of cables in a number of places.
  • cable entry points at the top of electrical equipment in a number of rooms where the installation will be exposed to water mist/deluge.
  • heating cable installations which do not accord with the regulations, as well as damage to such cables.
  • cables connecting to facilities for releasing fire-extinguishing liquid in high-voltage switch rooms, and which are meant to be placed outside the room, were installed via the room so that they could be exposed to incidents inside the room.

The PSA says that only a little time is available before the licensees are to take a decision on departure from the South Korean yard. The notice has accordingly been issued before the audit report is finalized.

The Martin Linge field, a complex, high-pressure field, was discovered in 1975, is estimated to contain about 190 MMboe. The field development involves an integrated wellhead production and accommodation platform on a steel jacket, with power from shore using what will be the world's longest subsea high voltage AC power cable, with a floating storage unit. 

The PSA has ordered Total E&P Norge to identify and correct as far as possible faults and deficiencies, and to assess applicable plans, prioritization and use of resources to ensure acceptable commissioning before installation on the field. Total has until 29 May 2017 to comply.

Total operates Martin Linge with 51% interest. It's partners include Petoro (30%) and Statoil (19%). 

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