The UK’s safety regulator has warned of serious concerns over the integrity and management of mooring systems on a North Sea production vessel.
In a lengthy improvement notice, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) warned there is “a serious risk” of the Haewene Brim floating production storage and offloading (FSPO) facility “losing position”.
This could put it and other installations at risk, HSE said.
Haewene Brim serves Shell’s newly redeveloped Pierce field about 165 miles east of Aberdeen.
HSE highlighted a series of failures around inspections and integrity management.
FPSO producing for Shell and Ithaca
Dutch firm Bluewater Energy Services operates the FPSO via a UK subsidiary, Pierce Production Company, to whom the notice was served.
Bluewater said it was aware of the issues and had made a “precautionary shutdown” of the vessel prior to the notice, with work now ongoing to address the issues.
Eight areas of concern
Inspectors visited the vessel on August 8 and September 28 this year.
The operator could not show it had suitable arrangements in place to maintain the integrity of mooring systems, nor had it made arrangements for periodic reviews.
HSE reported eight areas of concern, including a lack of evidence to show the assessment of bolts used to secure cover plates for a mooring line.
These lines connect the vessel to a submerged turret production buoy – floating equipment which links the field’s wells with the FPSO and helps maintain its position.
Bolts and securing plates for a further two mooring lines were found to be “missing”.
“Significant movement” of securing pins was also observed.
Inspectors reported that guidance on “anomaly criticality assessment” for the mooring system was “non-existent.”
Other issues raised
HSE said there was “no evidence” of any inspections carried out for parts of the mooring system from the touchdown to the anchor piles since their installation in 2018.
Finally, it said there was no evidence the failure modes of various components of the mooring system had been assessed and that a suitable inspection regime was in place.
Nor could the operator show any periodic integrity review of the mooring system by “competent persons”.
A statement from Bluewater today said: “The safety of our people and assets are our first priority.
“Bluewater Energy carried out a precautionary shutdown of the vessel, prior to the notice being received. Work is ongoing to resolve the recommendations from the HSE.”
The company has until March 29 2024 to address the issues.
Haewene Brim is under charter on Pierce until December 31 2026.