Norway’s PSA orders Equinor to review Hammerfest LNG safety management

Norway's PSA orders Equinor to review Hammerfest LNG safety managementImage courtesy of Equinor

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has ordered the compatriot energy company Equinor to review its own management of safety at the Hammerfest LNG plant on Melkøya Island.

PSA launched an investigation of an incident at the facility in March since the facility “has been operated over time with weakness in safety-critical equipment.”

Equinor shut down Hammerfest LNG on March 11, 2019, in order to correct impairments to a number of pressure safety valves (PSV). Heat trace cables and insulation were missing from 190 of these valves.

Equinor considered the overall position to be so serious and uncertain that a shutdown and correction was required.

The condition of these valves had been identified in earlier reviews conducted by Equinor, without the weaknesses being corrected, PSA said in its notice.

The watchdog found four irregularities related to management follow-up of safety at the plant, deficiencies in risk assessment of discoveries, inadequate correction following a hydrate discovery in a PSV and deficiencies in registering HSE incidents.

Furthermore, an improvement point related to inadequate capacity in the organization was identified, PSA said.

On the basis of its findings, PSA issued an order to Equinor to review its own management of safety at Hammerfest LNG plant and to implement the necessary measures to ensure that it is able to identify barriers which are impaired or non-functioning, assess the combination of impaired barriers, ensure that necessary compensatory measures are implemented and correct barriers which are non-functioning or impaired.

The deadline for compliance with the order is December 31, 2019, PSA said adding that it must verify the effect of the measures taken.

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