Effective barrier management is by most considered the fundamental principle for prevention and mitigation of major accidents in offshore drilling and production operations. The Rig Industry in Norway has long traditions when it comes to managing safety and assets, but previously no common practise amongst all the Rig Owners for how to meet the Norwegian regulatory requirements, was previously established.
Barrier management taps into safety and asset management practices by providing a more structured, integrated and systematic approach to managing major accident risk. To understand how the Rig Owner's can best prevent major accidents; focal persons from all the rig companies operating in Norway were involved in this project. During these workshops, all involved parties discussed and expressed their issues of concern, challenges and needs of the industry. Company specific information was openly shared, with the intention that it would be possible to learn from previous situations – to bring the business forward. By defining applicable terminology and explaining the rationale of barrier management, a framework was established as well as an understanding of how this could be implemented. First, definitions of relevant terminology were established, before the rationale of barrier management was explained. A framework was then developed, describing good pracitises for implemention of barrier management solutions in operations and how barrier performance can be maintained, including description of methods, tools and activities for systematic implementation.
The resulting barrier management framework can be used to support communication, consensus, decision making and action across technical disciplines and organizational boundaries. It has also given rig owners in Norway a common understanding and approach on how to meet the Petroleum Safety Authority expectations, and how to implement and manage barriers in daily operation to prevent major accidents.