Statoil Pay The Price For Fatal 1999 Norwegian Sea Accident

A fine of NOK 10 million has been imposed on Statoil by the public prosecutor for Rogaland county in respect of a fatal accident on the group's Heidrun Field in the Norwegian Sea on February 14, 1999.

The penalty is based on an alleged failure by Statoil to check that drill floor personnel on the night of the accident were adequately qualified. In addition, the public prosecutor has also found that the pipehandling system on the platform breached regulations and was not in acceptable condition.

Roughneck Borre Dalstein was crushed during the work of freeing drillpipe in the platform derrick. The 27-year-old was flown to Trondheim Regional Hospital, but his life could not be saved. Investigations were immediately launched by Statoil, the police and the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. These concluded that the accident was caused by personnel working within the operational range of remotely-controlled pipehandling equipment while the latter was in use.

Statoil chief executive Olav Fjell says that the group takes the fine very seriously, and will quickly assess the basis on which it has been imposed. "We launched our own investigation of the accident in 1999, and immediately adopted measures to improve the weaknesses identified in our report, and which now form the basis for the fine. "We are very concerned to enhance the safety of our operations. Continuous pressure on safety efforts will continue to be maintained to improve our results even further."

The measures adopted after the accident primarily involved training, communication and working procedures. Pipehandling procedures were also improved, while procedures for working in the derrick were reviewed and revised.

Mr. Dalstein worked for drilling contractor Procon Drilling Services, now Prosafe Drilling Services, which has been fined NOK 750,000 after the accident.


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