StatoilHydro has warned that oil production is likely to be hampered on the Norwegian continental shelf, NCS, due to freefall lifeboat issues during the coming expected winter extreme weather in the area.
A number of freefall lifeboat-related issues have emerged in the region over the past year, ranging from quality-control to a need to strengthen canopies. Lifeboats are regarded as the secondary evacuation system on StatoilHydro platforms, helicopters being the primary means. So far free fall lifeboats have not been used an actual evacuation.
Says a StatoilHydro announcement: “Throughout the winter, StatoilHydro will have to continue transferring personnel on some platforms in adverse weather conditions. This could affect production… During the winter, StatoilHydro will be able to transfer personnel from some platforms without production being affected. In most cases this could mean that maintenance and project work will be postponed.
“StatoilHydro has spent considerable resources in recent years on improving the safety of its lifeboats. Twelve boats have been replaced and improvements have been made to several of the boats used by the group.”
StatoilHydro recently applied to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, PSA, for an extension of an earlier dispensation from the petroleum regulations for the Kristin, Kvitebjørn, Troll B and Veslefrikk B platforms. . The dispensation was approved until 1 October and the company has now asked the authorities to extend this dispensation until 1 May 2010.
Lifeboat improvements completed since the last application for dispensation:
Kristin: three lifeboats replaced.
Veslefrikk B: three lifeboats replaced.
Troll C: four lifeboats replaced.
Visund: two lifeboats replaced.
Oseberg South: three lifeboats modified.
Njord B: one lifeboat replaced.
Åsgard B: new lifeboat station scheduled for completion in the autumn of 2009.
Statfjord B: two lifeboat stations moved.
Statfjord C: two lifeboat stations moved.
Kvitebjørn: belts/seats upgraded
Modifications related to seats and belts have also been made on other platforms.