Macondo Disaster Experience Must Lead to Improvements


Lessons learnt so far from the Deepwater Horizon disaster show that neither the industry nor the government can be satisfied with conditions on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

This view was expressed by Magne Ognedal, director general of the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA), in his opening speech to the 2011 International Regulators’ Forum offshore safety summit.

He told the conference in Stavanger today that the PSA has devoted substantial efforts to reviewing experience from this accident, and that the aim is to finish the work by next spring.

We must use the lessons from the disaster to make the Norwegian petroleum sector ever safer and more robust to help prevent new major accidents,” Mr Ognedal said.

He added that the PSA’s preliminary conclusions have not identified any new or unknown underlying causal mechanisms or conditions. A number of the underlying causes were the same as for the Montara blowout off Australia. The most important conclusions drawn by the investigations into these two accidentscoincide with the PSA’s findings from serious incidents in the Norwegian petroleum industry.

The Deepwater Horizon accident cannot be confined to BP, Transocean, Halliburton, deepwater drilling, blowouts and/or the Gulf of Mexico,” Mr Ognedal emphasised.

This disaster affects all types of activity and all players in the national and international petroleum sector. And it must lead to improvements in the industry as a whole.”

The Macondo and Montara disasters have become a hot issue for the industry’s stakeholders, Mr Ognedal noted.

These include the companies and their national, regional and global associations as well as other organisations, such as the OGP, the IADC, Ospar, the G20 and the European Commission. They have all responded diligently to the challenges and are now set to contribute to making our important industry safer, the PSA director general observed.

In a comment after his speech, Mr Ognedalchallenged the delegates to the conference by asking whether an accident had to happen before work on improvements could begin.

We must get better at using the knowledge and data we already possess about risk associated with this type of activity in order to work purposefully on continuous safety improvements.

Other speakers on the first day of the summit included Michael Bromwich, director of the recently created US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), who addressed the response of the American safety regulators.

Steve Walker, head of the offshore safety division (OSD) at the UK Health & Safety Authority, similarly provided an overview of responses by safety regulators around the North Sea.

These contributions were followed by briefings from Ospar, the G20 and the European Commission on the way these bodies are handling petroleum-related challenges.

Being as well-informed as possible about the way other national regulators, companies and stakeholders are applying the lessons from these accidents is important and useful for the PSA. This forms part of the basis for planning the authority’s own activities with regard to regulatory changes and supervision in light of these experiences.

The PSA is hosting the IRF summit on 4-5 October, which has assembled more than 200 delegates from all over the world. The IRF will hold its annual meeting in Stavanger on 6 October.


Source: Ptil , October 5, 2011