By SELINA WILLIAMS
LONDON -- Norway's Petroleum Safety Authority (PSA) has
ordered BP to implement immediate measures to comply with fire-
and explosion-prevention requirements at its Ula P oil platform
following an oil and gas leak in September at the North Sea
BP's safety record globally remains under scrutiny more than
two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, when a rig
leased by BP exploded in the US Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 and
leading to the worst offshore oil spill in US history.
The order from Norway's PSA comes as BP said Nov. 15 that it
had agreed to accept criminal responsibility in the US for
the Deepwater Horizon disaster and pay $4.5 billion in fines
In the order, Norway's PSA said that fire protection for the
main substructure and process equipment on the Ula P processing
platform were inadequate and passive fire protection needed to
Such protection would slow a fire from spreading and protect
the steel structure of the platform from deformation, the PSA
said in a statement issued late Monday.
The PSA also said that walls between the processing modules
on the platform, where hydrocarbons are separated into oil, gas
and water, don't have sufficient protection from explosion and
need to be strengthened.
BP has until Dec. 31, 2012, to comply with the PSA's
BP said it is working on a plan on the short-term,
medium-term and long-term actions to resolve the shortfalls.
The short-term actions, which include reducing areas for hot
work such as welding and improving protection of valves in the
process plant with passive fire protection, would be
implemented within the deadline.
"Some actions will be of longer term as these involve new
fire and explosion studies. We will in accordance with best
practice execute these and implement measures required to
comply with the notification," BP said in a statement.
On Sept. 18, BP said a leak had forced it to shut down the
platform in the southern sector of the North Sea earlier that
month. BP restarted production at Ula on Nov. 17.
At the time, the PSA said the hydrocarbon leak from the platform Sept.
12 was "substantial" and described the episode as having
"substantial potential." Nobody was injured in the
BP maintains it is placing safety at the heart of its global
operations, shutting down platforms around the world for safety
checks and extensive maintenance. Incidents like Ula risk
undermining the company's claims on safety standards.
Earlier this year, BP halted output at its Foinaven Field in
the North Sea after a leak was discovered in an underwater
connecting pipeline. Last year, a fire at the Valhall
production platform, also in the North Sea, led to a production
shutdown at the field for more than two months.
Dow Jones Newswires