The maintenance 1980

person by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Like most of the organisation on Statfjord during the initial production period, the maintenance department was strictly hierarchical. Reporting lines were unambiguous and each post had its specific tasks which were clearly spelt out in the job description.
— Work on Statfjord A. Photo: Odd Noreger/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

The department was headed by a superintendent and split into five technical sections – general, mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and communication equipment maintenance. In addition came separate planning and stores teams which served the technical sections. Each of the latter was headed by a supervisor, with foremen between him and the skilled and unskilled workers.

Organisation of the actual maintenance work in the early 1980s had clear similarities with the model applied in 2010. Activities were planned and coordinated through procedures and meetings, and in cooperation between land and offshore.

The governing document was the preventive maintenance system (PMS), involving plans prepared by the department on land and sent to the platforms every 10th day. These were based on a master plan, which recorded all technical equipment with specifications on when maintenance was to be carried out. The PMS corresponded to the 14-day plans currently prepared by the land organisation.

Corrective maintenance was executed on the basis of a three-day plan, which built on internal action requests (IARs) issued on the platform as acute or more long-term maintenance requirements arose.

An IAR can be compared with today’s notifications, and could be issued by anyone on the platform. Everyone was duty-bound to report observed faults or deficiencies. The actual work order for repairs or maintenance had to be signed by the area technician.


All IARs were received and registered by the maintenance planner, who established a daily work plan for each technical section. That was compared with the other departmental plans at a morning meeting in the platform manager’s office.

Attended by the departmental heads and the senior control room operator, this simultaneous drilling and production (SDP) session coordinated various activities and determined whether work in one department required a halt in another for safety reasons. A coordination meeting at foreman level took place at 13.30 in the office area where the whole department, with the exception of general maintenance, was based. Attended by the planner and the foremen, this coordinated work within the three-day plan.

The outcome formed the basis for the planner’s preparation and adjustment of the daily maintenance schedule (DMS). He then took this to the planning meeting at supervisor level. Final coordination took place in another SDP meeting during the evening, again with the platform manager, departmental heads and senior control room operator present.

General maintenance section

This section was responsible for activities not covered by the other sections, such as welding and pipework. It was also responsible for supervising a large number of contractor personnel employed more or less permanently on such work as pressure testing tanks, vessels and piping systems as well as non-destructive testing (NDT).

The section was headed by a supervisor with foremen for both technical and general maintenance. Skilled personnel occupied the next level, and below them were the utilitymen. The latter did jobs as instructed, and were responsible for cleaning platform equipment such as tanks, modules and outlets. Utilitymen were divided into two grades, with a utilityman I supervising utilitymen IIs.

Mechanical maintenance section

This section was responsible for maintenance and repair of all mechanical equipment on the relevant platform – gas turbines and compressors, diesel engines, air compressors, pumps, cranes and corresponding hardware on the loading buoys. Its structure was fairly similar to the general maintenance section, with supervisor, foremen and skilled workers.

A separate group within the section was responsible for the gas turbines and centrifugal compressors. Another had particular responsibility for the gas-fuelled piston compressors used to inject gas. Technical problems with this machinery needed to be tackled by dedicated teams. Much work was also devoted to the big cranes, which had become worn out from the installation work.

Electrical maintenance section

This section was responsible for repair and maintenance of all electrical equipment above 24V, and for assisting others in using such devices to ensure maximum safety and efficiency.

Most of the skilled workers were certified high-voltage fitters, and the remaining electricians had low-voltage certificates. The majority came from land-based industry, shipping and electrical installation. The section was structured with a supervisor, foremen and skilled workers.

Instrumentation maintenance section

This section was responsible for maintenance and repair of all instrumentation on the relevant platform, whether electronic/electrical (below 24V), pneumatic or other. It was split into three groups for general instrumentation, fire and gas detectors, and digital equipment respectively, each with dedicated skilled workers.

The general instrumentation personnel were largely allocated to various system areas, such as loading, production, compression and utilities. Much of the instrumentation on Statfjord A had to be replaced in the early 1980s because the original equipment was outdated.

Communication equipment maintenance section

This section had relatively limited resources compared with the others, but still featured three organisational levels – supervisor, foremen and skilled workers. Its job was to check and monitor communication systems, and to carry out necessary maintenance, repair and modification with these.

Administrative and support functions

A separate administration alongside the sections comprised the maintenance planner, whose job was to prepare work plans. This post represented a career promotion available only to the department’s own technicians.

In addition came a dedicated secretary and administrative assistant, both subordinated in the hierarchy to the maintenance planner. The secretary and assistance did typing, reporting, filing and correspondence for the management as well as assisting in the preparation of financial reports and administering document management systems.

A storekeeper checked and documented all movements of materials and equipment to and from the field, and assisted in monitoring them during storage on the platforms. This was also a career promotion confined to maintenance technicians. A staff of store clerks kept track of the platform’s tools and maintenance supplies.


Norwegian Work Research Institute archive/Norwegian Petroleum Museum.

Published November 14, 2019   •   Updated November 19, 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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