Move Cautiously in Far North Says Safety Agency
Working in the Barents Sea must be as safe as elsewhere Norway's Petroleum Safety Agency (PSA) makes clear.
The petroleum sector faces special challenges as it moves northwards, and the question is whether emergency preparedness, knowledge and technology are sufficient to meet them. Activities in the Barents Sea are characterised by great distances to land, lack of infrastructure, long dark winters and a tough climate with low temperatures.
Finn Carlsen, a director of supervision at the PSA, adds that operators will once again have to pursue their work in close proximity to rich fishing grounds. He emphasises that stopping oil spills from happening at all represents the most important contribution to protecting the environment in the far north.
Norway’s energy unions have called for operators who first move into new northern areas to ensure that extraordinary safety barriers are installed. They also want to see a well developed infrastructure which makes provision for a high level of emergency preparedness. Carlsen is largely in agreement with such demands. Carlsen added: “Companies which are going to develop and operate new fields must recognise that they have a regional responsibility to establish infrastructure and emergency preparedness for the whole area."