Statoil in safety rap on Heimdal leak

Incident: the Heimdal platform

Norwegian giant ordered to improve its act after serious gas emission at platform

Statoil has been slapped with an improvement order by Norway’s safety watchdog after a serious gas leak at its Heimdal platform last year.

It follows a probe by the Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) that uncovered “serious regulatory breaches” by the Norwegian state oil company that led to the 26 May incident in which 3500 kilograms of gas escaped, creating a potentially combustible cloud around the facility.

The leak, described by the PSA as one of the most serious gas emissions off Norway in recent years, occurred during testing of two emergency shutdown valves on the Heimdal drilling, production and accommodation platform.

The safety agency has criticised Statoil for failing to properly implement improvement measures adopted after earlier leaks, including a 2010 incident on the Gullfaks field.

The company has now been ordered to establish why such measures have failed to have an effect at Heimdal and make sure they are effective in future, as well as ensure other facilities are not affected by similar shortcomings.

Statoil has been given a deadline of 1 March to comply with the order.

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