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How NORSOK standards are progressing the next generation of subsea technology

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Norsok standards for use in the oil and gas industry - diagram from Standards Norway

First introduced in 1994, the NORSOK standards were created to cut costs and improve competitiveness on the continental shelf. Over two decades later, 88 standards are continually helping operators to cut investment in North Sea projects by 50%, and operating costs by 25%.

But it isn’t just the cost savings that NORSOK is looking to improve for operators on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Amongst their strategic goals throughout 2015 – 2017, NORSOK wants to tackle issues on:

Climate change

  • Achieve society’s acceptance of gas as part of the solution for tackling climate change
  • Support industry efforts to reduce air emissions
  • Work with the industry on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) to help tackle climate change

Industry growth and cost

  • Communicate the value creation and innovation by industry
  • Work for sustainable and competitive wages in the industry
  • Work for competitive and predictable fiscal conditions

Safety and regulations

  • Improve learning and experience to transfer to reduce major accident risk
  • Achieve cost-effective standards and increased use of international standards
  • Work for cost-effective and predictable regulations

The combination of an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, safety conscious, and growing sector is something that Claxton Engineering has embraced to stay ahead of the curve. More importantly, it enables us to assess the demands of clients more effectively, in order to facilitate their needs with new products and services.

Working to NORSOK standards, Claxton has not only been able to secure work in Norwegian waters, such as the decommissioning contract we won from Statoil, the standards have also helped to provide a better service offering for our current projects elsewhere. This was the case when we used the new evolution of SABRE™ on the Horne and Wren platform in the Southern North Sea recently.


Claxton workers on deck offshore at Horne and Wren

Building upon the success that the previous system had, Claxton’s R&D team focussed on increasing safety, but reducing project cost for the operator, compared to traditional techniques, and reducing equipment needed on the platform.

In July 2016, Claxton was responsible for the 5.1/2” tubing cut verification, tubing recovery, sub-mudline abrasive conductor severance, conductor cut verification and the subsequent multi-string recovery from both the Horne and Wren wells. SABRE™ was deployed, and as project engineer Rob Horton describes, it was a very successful project.

The Horne and Wren platform has a small 8m x 8m weather deck footprint, creating a space challenge which we managed to overcome. As well as using our latest evolution of the ‘SABRE’ abrasive cutting system, this project also required a full, bespoke, lightweight work package. This included a hydraulic proving system and a utility crane to ensure self-sufficiency in handling our equipment.

Proving of tubing and conductor cuts were completed with the same system, enabling us to reduce equipment, time and money for the client. Equipment was located on the JULB with services run to the platform for the tubing recovery and multi-string severance and subsequent casing retrieval.


Throughout the oil and gas industry, NORSOK standards are known for being incredibly technical, but the strategic goals as set out by the regulator show an admirable vision that all operators and engineers need to comply to.

A more safety conscious, cost-efficient, and environmentally friendly industry ultimately leads to a sustained and predictable growth period – something the sector strives for in a volatile price market.

Should other operators and engineers look towards NORSOK standards further to achieve a healthier sector sooner? That question is best left to the business leaders in the industry, but for now, here at Claxton Engineering, we’re enjoying leading the way with our subsea technology, such as the SABRE™, and mindset to always make it happen for our clients.

See the next generation of subsea technology helping clients complete their decommissioning projects within budget and within their timeframe. Download the Claxton Decommissioning Buyer’s Guide to find out more.


Decom buyers guide
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Decommissioning Buyers Guide

Download our decommissioning buyers guide to learn how we can provide solutions for both platform and subsea well abandonments and casing recoveries.