In 2007, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store initiated the " Barents 2020" project - a joint Norwegian-Russian project dedicated to establishing acceptable health, environmental protection and safety standards in the Barents Sea. Russia's experience of operations in harsh climate regions and Norwegian expertise in the field of offshore operations has resulted in the successful implementation of the project on the harmonization of standards for environmental protection and safety in a vulnerable Barents Sea. Cooperation continues and is now entering a new phase with the aim of preparing industry guidelines for selected topics not only for the Barents Sea, but also with a pan-arctic perspective. The main sponsors of the project are now Gazprom, Statoil, ENI, Total, Shtokman Development AG (SDAG), the Oil and Gas Producers Association (OGP) and Det Norske Veritas (DNV). The project is to be completed by December 2011. The main objective of this paper is to summarize the current findings and recommendations from the various expert groups involved in the project.
In this report the following abbreviations are frequently referred to:
API - American Petroleum Institute
CSA - Canadian Standards Association
DIS - Draft International Standard
DNV - Det Norske Veritas
EER - Escape, Evacuation, and Rescue
HSE - Health Safety and Environment
IMO - International Maritime Organisation
ISO - International Organisation for Standardization
MARPOL - International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
NORSOK - Norwegian offshore Petroleum Industry Standard
OGP - International Association of Oil and Gas Producers
RP - Recommended Practice
WG - Working Group
The purpose of the Barents2020 project is to recommend HSE standards for common Norwegian - Russian application in the Barents Sea, for safeguarding people, environment and asset values in connection with oil and gas activities, including marine transportation. The underlying assumption is that petroleum operations in the Barents Sea should be at least as safe as those in the North Sea. Phase 1 of the project lasted from October 2007 to October 2008. The results of Phase 1 were documented in 5 " position papers??. These papers provided the basis for further work in Phase 2, lasting from November 2008 to March 2009, resulting in the special topics prioritized for further study in expert working groups in Phase 3. The selection of topics for further work was carried out in close cooperation between the Norwegian and Russian participating organizations. The process was constructive and quick, based on both Russian and Norwegian proposals. There was full agreement between the parties that these topics are important issues which need to be addressed in relation to safeguarding oil and gas operations in the Barents Sea.