Storting debate on the “letter affair”Statfjord North discovered

Statfjord A listing

person By Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
Only weeks after cracks had been discovered in the concrete gravity base structure (GBS) for Statfjord A and the platform took in water, it listed once again while lying in Digernessundet.
— The Statfjord A topside was outfitted at Aker’s Stord Verft yard north of Stavanger. Several accidents occurred during this job, but none were fatal. Photo: Aker/Norwegian Petroleum Museum
© Norsk Oljemuseum

A test of the emergency shutdown procedure for the ballast system went wrong. The living quarters had been installed at one end of the topside, and differing levels of ballast water in the various cells were used to compensate for the added weight.

A service operative from the Swedish factory which had delivered the ballast system was testing the hydraulics. Put simply, this involved placing each valve in a semi-open position, and then pressing a red button and timing how long it took to shut down. There were 16 cells with ballast water, and the valves were tested one after another.

The final stage in the procedure was to place all the valves in a semi-open position and then press the big button. Since water levels varied between the cells, the platform started to list. The alarms sounded, and the big button fortunately worked.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Interview with Einar Jensen by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum. The procedure followed would have been correct for a system which was not in operation. Since the one on Statfjord A was in fact operational, the final stage should have been left out.

This was a serious incident. The platform listed by three degrees, which meant the topside sank by eight-nine metres along one side.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Gjerde, K., Ryggvik, H., & Gooderham, R. (2014). On the edge, under water : Offshore diving in Norway. Stavanger: Wigestrand: 158. It was evacuated, and nobody was hurt. Subsequent reports have alleged that people jumped from the topside, but Einar Jensen denies this:

“People didn’t jump from the topside, but a scaffolding ladder was installed on each side down to a barge on the water. When the platform listed, the stair on one side became far too short, so that when you reached the bottom step the surface was still some way down. It’s possible that some people who went down those stairs jumped, but I can’t confirm it.”[REMOVE]Fotnote: Interview with Einar Jensen by Trude Meland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum. To learn more, see the article: Building the Statfjord A topside at Stord Verft.

Storting debate on the “letter affair”Statfjord North discovered
Published November 21, 2019   •   Updated December 11, 2019
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