Image courtesy of Harald Pettersen/Statoil.

The Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said Tuesday that it found several “serious” breaches tied to a 2015 leak at Statoil’s Gudrun facility in the North Sea.

An investigation by the PSA into the February 2015 incident found that the leak was caused by a rupture in a two-inch pipe in the bypass line directly downstream of the first-stage separator.

The leak prompted a temporary production shut down at the Statoil operated platform.

Statoil estimated the initial leak rate at eight kilograms per second and found that condensate from the first-stage separator had leaked into the open air.

The PSA concluded that the leak spilled about 2,800 kilograms, or about four cubic meters, of condensate, with over one cubic meter of condensate believed to have been discharged into the sea.

“The leak on Gudrun is regarded as one of the larger hydrocarbon escapes recorded on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS) over the past decade,” the PSA said.

No one was injured during the accident but the PSA said that, under “slightly different circumstances,” the leak could have resulted “in a major accident with loss of life, substantial damage to material assents and consequences for the marine environment.”

An investigation published by Statoil in May 2015 found that the leak could have been fatal if workers had been exposed to released gas.

The PSA identified nonconformities including “weaknesses in Statoil’s fulfillment of its responsibilities,insufficient robustness in the design, deficiencies in information management and competence, inadequate information at shift and personnel changes, weaknesses in experience transfer and learning” and nonconformities related to the execution of work on electrical installations.

The agency added that several of these nonconformities also involve “weaknesses in management follow-up to ensure that activities are conducted in an acceptable manner.”

The PSA has issued a notification of an order to Statoil that asks the company to address the nonconformities.

The notification of an order is not a sanction and is a preliminary step before the agency makes any administrative decisions.

Statoil has until June 1, 2016 to comply with the order.


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