Investigation Into Petrojarl Knarr Fire Uncovers Defects

Teekay's Petrojarl Knarr FPSO is on charter to BG Group. Photo: BG Group
Teekay’s Petrojarl Knarr FPSO is on charter to BG Group. Photo: BG Group

Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority has uncovered a number of defects and shortcomings in its investigation into the March 2015 fire onboard the Petrojarl Knarr floating production and storage unit (FPSO) at the Knarr field offshore Norway.

The fire broke out early on March 24, 2014 – less than a week after the FPSO come online – in a ventilation system located beneath the living quarters and used to supply air to the engine room onboard the FPSO.

The PSA said that the incident was preceded by a power cut which shut down the fans in the HVAC unit. However, the fire started when steam that continued to be supplied to the unit caused high temperatures to develop, eventually igniting air filter cassettes about eight hours later.

The fire was extinguished after about 30 minutes and the incident led only to material damage, but had the fire damper valves failed to operate, smoke could have spread into the living quarters onboard the FPSO, according to the investigation.

The PSA said that technical investigations by the vessel’s owner have been unable to identify the direct cause of the filter ignition with any certainty.

The investigation identified a number of ‘nonconformities’ and improvement items covering both technical conditions and areas related to emergency response.

The PSA has asked the owner of the FPSO, Teekay Petrojarl Production AS, to respond to the defects identified in the report, including any follow-up actions.

The Knarr field is located in the Norwegian North Sea, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north-east of Snorre, and has been developed with Petrojarl Knarr and two subsea templates for production and injection tied back to a seabed manifold.

Petrojarl Knarr was installed on the field in the fourth quarter of 2014, and began production on March 18, 2015, just six days before the incident occurred.

The Knarr field is operated by BG Norge Limited (BG).