In the development of offshore oil and gas deposits, coordination of effort between those involved in all phases of the activity has generally been a dynamic process Depending on the location, several groupings of the main parties have evolved, usually consisting of Government, operators and contractors These groupings eventually stabilize and establish particular functions with clearly defined areas of responsibility and influence In the USA, for example, the various government agencies have established positions, as have the operators through API and diving contractors with ADC, while in the UK the positions of the Departments of Energy and of transport, the UK OOA and the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors (AODC) are well known International bodies such as the E and P Forum, IADC, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) are also involved in various areas of offshore oil- and gas related Diving. In general, the main course of these industrial and governmental groups has been towards the development of standards, whether through regulations, guidelines, approved lists or other means In Norway, a similar pattern has evolved with four main units representing Government, operators, contractors and trades union As in most other offshore areas, this evolution has been gradual, but has been based on Norway's well-established broad industrial and social-relations principles and the previous experience of operators and contractors In the area of subsea operations, liaison with the UK has been of particular importance in this period As a part of this evolutionary process, a number of recent developments initiated further and more detailed efforts to improve overall efficiency and safety in all phases of offshore activity. These were

  • revision of the petroleum regulatory system,

  • revised structure of NIFO (Norwegian Industry Association for Oil Operators),

  • changing economics

CURRENT STATUS

With the introduction of the new Petroleum Act in 1985, the Norwegian authorities have placed even greater emphasis on the field operators' responsibility for safety, but have left the initiation of detailed actions to meet the overall requirements, to individual operators While this has enabled the implementation of safety to be tailored to specific field/installation/operational needs, interpretation of the legal requirements has become less predictable In addition, the new law has required operators to demonstrate their compliance by an internal control system, referenced to a Norwegian Standard, NS 1501 This document gives guidance on quality assurance by internal procedures and is heavily procedurally oriented Although originally intended as a cost-saving exercise, the implementation of this requirement led to the QA/QC industry expanding very rapidly and a vast amount of documentation being generated, together with the expansion of the necessary personnel to carry out audits, confirm compliance and to document results The general impact of this is well known, and while increased safety has been achieved, the resultant costs of this ‘internal control’ policy have been significant.

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