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Norwegian regulator shuts down Goliat FPSO over potentially faulty Ex motors

09 October 2017

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has issued an order to Eni Norge AS as operator to minimise the ignition threat posed by possible faulty Ex motors on the Goliat field in the Barents Sea. Until the order has been complied with, all production from the Goliat floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit must remain shut down.

Goliat FPSO - Image: Eni Norge
Goliat FPSO - Image: Eni Norge

The order notice is as follows:

This action follows an audit of electrical safety and the person in charge of the electrical facilities at Eni on board the Goliat FPSO from 19-28 September 2017. This audit was followed up by a meeting between Eni and the PSA on October 4, 2017.

A high fault rate with the  Ex integrity of the equipment was established through random sampling of reports from Ex inspections of electric motors incorporating an emergency stop arrangement. This also included equipment in hazardous areas. Eni submitted that the total fault rate for the relevant equipment after inspection-related repair was 38%. It further emerged that 3.5% of these represented serious faults in Eni’s own assessment. The PSA regards these fault rates as high. Eni reported at the meeting that it had investigated about 50%of the Ex motors at that point. The condition of the Ex motors which had not been inspected is therefore unclear.

This represents a nonconformity from section 10a of the facilities regulations on ignition source control, see section 78 of the facilities regulations on Atex, see the regulations on equipment and safety systems for use in explosive atmospheres (the Atex regulations).

The PSA regards the nonconformity as serious, and Eni Norge As has been ordered to do as follows:

·       *  Complete the systematic survey of potential ignition sources related to electric Ex motors.

·       *  On the basis of the survey, implement the necessary technical, operational and organisational measures to reduce as far as possible the threat of ignition from all faults which represent an ignition source.

The PSA says these activities must be implemented before production resumes from the FPSO. Eni has three weeks to lodge a possible appeal against the order.

Located 88 km north-west of Hammerfest in the Barents Sea, Goliat is the world's northernmost offshore oil production facility. Eni has a 65% interest in the field, with Statoil holding the remaining 35%. 

Since production began in March 2016, the field has been shut down several times for a number of reasons. Earlier this year, the FPSO ceased production on two occasions to carry out repairs on a damaged offloading hose and for maintenance of the gas compression system.

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