December 3, 2018 / 4:12 PM / 13 days ago

Aker BP's Ula oilfield needs more maintenance - Norway safety watchdog

OSLO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Aker BP has not done enough to maintain its ageing Ula oilfield in the North Sea and has failed to meet other requirements, the Norwegian Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) said on Monday.

The Norwegian oil company said it took the watchdog’s findings seriously and had already started making changes.

Aker BP had planned to shut down Ula in 2028, but this year announced plans to keep the oil flowing until 2040 by tying in several nearby resources, including the Oda and King Lear discoveries.

In the shorter term, it now has until Dec. 7 to respond to the safety authority’s letter and could face further measures including a binding order, forcing it to make changes.

“The company is not prioritising resources and activities required to ensure that maintenance plans are implemented,” the watchdog said in its message, which followed an audit of Ula.

Inspectors noticed that some staff lacked knowledge about safety procedures, the report added.

“Several examples were observed where knowledge was lacking about ... facility-specific conditions of significance for major accident risk,” the PSA said in the notice.

Aker BP has an 80 percent stake in Ula, and Faroe Petroleum holds the remaining 20 percent.

Ula, which started production in 1986, also serves as the processing facility for Aker BP’s Tambar and Repsol’s Blane fields.

Altogether the fields pumped around 13,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day in September, the latest available data from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate showed.

“Aker BP takes the findings seriously and will provide detailed feedback to the PSA on how the findings will be handled,” spokesman Ole-Johan Faret said. (Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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