The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has launched an investigation into an incident when removing the clamps/blind hub from new production tubing on the Statfjord B facility on 22 April 2023.
uring the operation, bolts were loosened while the tubing still contained gas under pressure. The energy released caused one of the workers to be hit by components and suffer facial injuries. This person was attended to before being flown ashore for further treatment.
In conducting its investigation, the PSA will
- clarify the course of events and the scope of the incident
- assess its actual and potential consequences
- assess its direct and underlying causes
- identify nonconformities and improvement points related to the regulations
- apply necessary enforcement powers to correct possible regulatory breaches
- make public its findings
- contribute to experience transfer to and learning by other players in the petroleum sector.
Weighing 34 kilograms, the blind hub was thrown about 1.5 metres into the air before descending and injuring the worker. A sealing ring also fell to an underlying level, where it grazed a person’s arm. The weight of this ring is so far unknown.
The hydrocarbons released activated two gas detectors, leading to a general alarm and mustering in accordance with instructions. Automatic shutdown of the facility was also instituted, and the second-line response mustered.
Equinor is the operator for the Statfjord field in the North Sea.
The PSA takes a serious view of this incident, and an investigation team drawn from its specialist personnel is starting work now. In addition, the PSA will be supporting the police inquiry.
Its main objectives are to identify the causes of the incident and possible lessons learnt, and to share this information with the industry.