Troubled ‘Goliat’ rig back in business

Bookmark and Share

Improvements to an emergency generator were among the maintenance tasks that allowed Italian oil compani Eni to crank up production again this week on its long-troubled Goliat oil and gas platform in the Barents Sea. The company claimed the rig was back up to 90 percent of normal production by Wednesday.

The Goliat platform, photographed on an unusually calm day in the Barents Sea. Environmental and climate activists don't want to see any more such projects in sensitive Arctic areas. PHOTO: Eni Norge/News On Request AS

The Goliat platform was put into place last spring, but has had problems ever since. Now its new boss and staff think the problems have been solved. PHOTO: Eni Norge/News On Request AS

The huge installation located 80 kilometers northwest of Hammerfest has been the target of operational disruptions and safety concerns since it finally was towed into place last spring. The rig was evacuated late last month after it lost power.

Now Andreas Wulff, spokesman for Eni Norge, has told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) that they’re back in business and pumping up oil. “We have had good cooperation with employee representative in the process, and the decision to start up production again was made with them,” Wulff told DN.

DN also reported this week that Eni has a new boss for its Norwegian operations in place, who has admitted that Eni had conducted “inadequate risk analysis” within its organization regarding Goliat. Phil Hemmens, a British executive for Eni who has led its health, environment and safety operation, said he’d been sent to Norway “to clean up.”

After examining “the entire organization” Hemmens said he wants better monitoring of operations, better safety control, better communication between the offshore operations and Eni’s offices in Hammerfest and “better communication with the whole organization.” He has also granted employees’ labour organizations’ demand to boost staffing to strengthen safety on the platform.

“This is really a fresh, new start,” Roger Agersborg-Hansen, one of the new staff members on the rig, told DN. He’s in charge of operations and represents employees.

“Staffing on Goliat was too thin,” Agersborg Hansen said, adding that Hemmens agreed when he arrived. “Now there will be more stable follow-ups of operation and maintenance, to ensure safety.” Berglund