Causal Factors and Improvement Measures Related to Well Control

Fig. 1—Comparison of identified causes (triggering and underlying) and proposed measures following well-control incidents for internal company investigations.

From 2009 to 2010, there was an increase in the number of well-control incidents on the Norwegian continental shelf reported to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA). This, together with the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, prompted PSA to initiate a comprehensive investigation into the causes and possible mitigating measures related to well-control incidents. This paper details the findings of the study.


The PSA report Trends in Risk Level in the Norwegian Petroleum Activity (RNNP) has been released on an annual basis since 2001. The RNNP aims to measure and improve health, safety, and environmental conditions in the Norwegian petroleum industry both offshore and onshore. The project includes indicators related to major accidents, personal injuries, and working-environment factors.

The project monitors risk level through the use of a number of indicators: incident data (well-control incidents, hydrocarbon leaks, and personal injuries), data describing performance of technical barriers, maintenance data, and working-environment indicators (noise, ergonomics, and chemicals). Multiple methods, both quantitative and qualitative, are used to investigate and monitor changes in risk level. Interviews, field work, and a survey targeted at all employees on facilities onshore and offshore are used alongside more-­traditional incident and near-miss reports.

Organizational details about the Norwegian petroleum industry that were fundamental to the collaborative effort that made the study possible are detailed in the complete paper.

This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Chris Carpenter, contains highlights of paper SPE 163775, “Risk of Major Accidents: Causal Factors and Improvement Measures Related to Well Control in the Petroleum Industry,” by Elisabeth Lootzand Monica Ovesen, SPE, Petroleum Safety Authority Norway, and Ranveig Kviseth Tinmannsvik, Stein Hauge, Eivind H. Okstad, and Inge M. Carlsen,SPE, SINTEF, prepared for the 2013 SPE Americas Exploration and Production Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference, Galveston, Texas, USA, 18–20 March. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Causal Factors and Improvement Measures Related to Well Control

01 January 2015

Volume: 67 | Issue: 1


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