Norway Safety Watchdog Asks Statoil Whether Recent Incidents Related to Cost Cutting
Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said it asked Statoil on 26 October to investigate whether a number of recent incidents at the oil producer’s facilities might be related and linked to cost cuts.
In the last 2 weeks, a Statoil offshore platform caught fire and another was shut after a gas leak. A drilling rig also struggled to contain a well, while five people were injured at an oil terminal and the country’s biggest refinery was evacuated over a leak.
Following the latest incident at the near 240,000-B/D Mongstad refinery on 25 October, PSA held an urgent meeting with Statoil on 26 October.
“The reason for the meeting was a number of incidents during a couple of weeks and our concern for that … . We know that they had quite large changes in their organization regarding cost cutting and efficiency,” the watchdog’s spokesman Oeyvind Midttun said.
“The question is whether there is a link between these changes and the causes of these incidents,” he added, speaking after PSA’s meeting with Statoil’s head of development and production in Norway, Arne Sigve Nylund.
A spokesman for Statoil said that the company had found no evidence that cost cutting caused its recent problems but it would continue to look into the matter.