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PSA Norway says more well control incidents should be investigated

11 September 2012

A new well control incident study released by the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) reveals significant gaps between causes in investigation reports and the viewpoints cited by professionals in interviews. The report concludes that the oil and gas industry should investigate more well control incidents and implement more technical measures.

While the results from the investigations generally point to technology as the triggering cause of well control incidents, the professionals generally focused more on the role of humans rather than technology when explaining main causes of well control incidents in interviews.

“The fact that the gap between causes in the investigation reports and the informants’ viewpoints is so large is worrisome, and shows that there is good reason to investigate more incidents,” says Monica Ovesen, Discipline Leader in Drilling and Wells at the PSA. 

The study was commissioned because of negative developments during the period from 2008 to 2011, when the number of well control incidents in Norwegian waters increased from 11 to 28 incidents annually.

Monica Ovesen, Drilling and Wells Specialist, PSA
Monica Ovesen, Drilling and Wells Specialist, PSA

From 2003 to 2010, only ten out of a total of 146 well control incidents were investigated, while 130 hydrocarbon leaks were investigated over the same period.

“Every well control incident is unique, which underlines the need for more investigation. Even though there are many similarities between incidents such as Deepwater Horizon, the Montara accident off Australia and the gas leak on Gullfaks C in 2010, there are also considerable differences. And the more we investigate, the more we learn about the causes surrounding the incidents and can thus implement the correct risk-reducing measures,” Ovesen said.


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