Minister Hauglie announces new white paper on petroleum safety

The Government has stated that it will draw up a new white paper on safety on the Norwegian continental shelf.

There have been several serious incidents this past year. The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway has also raised the question of whether we have reached a crossroads where safety is concerned, and the parties involved disagree on whether cost reductions are putting pressure on safety, says Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Anniken Hauglie.  

The minister has therefore requested that a white paper is prepared to provide a full review of the state of health, safety and the environment (HSE) in the petroleum industry. In addition to an overall description of the HSE situation, the white paper will address topics such as cooperation between the parties, participation and industry accountability.

This will be the first white paper on safety on the Norwegian continental shelf since 2011. 

Working group

To get the effort underway quickly, the minister has appointed a working group with representatives of the parties involved and the authorities (including the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate). This joint working group will describe risk and safety in the petroleum industry and examine potential new measures in a report to be published in October 2017. The group will be headed by Ole Andreas Engen, a professor in societal safety at the University of Stavanger. Professor Engen has previously led several large-scale research projects on risk regulation in petroleum activities, aviation and maritime industry.  

We have seen several examples of incidents where we believe questions need to be asked. Given our current situation, it is perhaps more important than ever that the parties collaborate to find good solutions and that the people who are most directly affected are heard from when discussing how to cut costs without compromising safety. I therefore think that a group representing the parties involved is an important starting point and that the time is right to prepare a white paper, says Ms Hauglie.  

My message in this is unequivocal: no measures to increase efficiency and cut costs are to be implemented to the detriment of health, safety and the environment, concludes the minister.