The Office of the Auditor General Norway has decided to perform an audit of PSA’s work in order to ensure that the practice adopted by PSA with respect to supervisory activities fulfills the decisions and premises of the Norwegian parliament (Storting). This is welcomed by the PSA management.
Some union representatives and the leader of Bellona have expressed serious distrust in PSA’s ability to control HSE in the petroleum industry. We do not think this is warranted, but we think the opportunity should be used well in order to consider if the practices adopted by PSA are the most effective in today’s climate.
The “Engen 1” expert commission proposed in 2013 (in Norwegian) that some adjustments should be made to the supervisory principles adopted by PSA. Such adjustments probably became significantly more essential after the strong fall of the oil price starting in 2014. Yet PSA has not made significant changes in their trust-based practice.
We have shown that no other offshore authority has a practice to the same extent based on trust similarly as PSA, but there has been no research devoted to consider if this is the best way to organize the supervisory activities in accordance with its mandate from the political level.
One aspect will be complicated for the Auditor General’s work, namely the fact that a large part of PSA’s supervisory activities is focused on major accident risk. Major accidents have luckily become rare events in the Norwegian petroleum industry, after 1980 there have been only two or three major accidents (only one accident with one fatality), implying that the judgement of what is effective supervisory control or not becomes very challenging to determine, at least in a limited time scale.